Created In Love

June 30

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We are created to love and be loved and what makes us so unique is our ability to choose love while having the ability to resist our innate and carnal desires. This can only be possible because we have been created in the very Love that continually draws us back to its original source.

The symptom of sin is selfishness and it’s result within us is always the same: death. Being born into original sin, it is inescapable upon this earth but humans fail to grasp that no soul perishes except spiritually. And that is the essential reason for our desperate need for Christ. It doesn’t come naturally – being born into original sin, however; it is a natural part of our DNA so we spend our lives searching to return to love – being created by Love. Christ will fulfill me completely but I need to surrender completely for this to take place.

The refusal of my spirit to humble itself before the Lord is a dangerous affair. Do not wait for God to humble you… He will do whatever He must to get the attention of your soul. His Love demands it.

Peace, today. Sean G.

Today’s Scripture: 2 Kings 1:13-15

13 Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight.

14 Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.”

15 Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king

Created By Obedience

June 29

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We are created with a desire to obey. Though it is not in our inherent nature to do so, we must strive to find our way back to the place where obedience lies. God made us not to just obey but to want to obey and we must find that desire once more, within us. This desire fight against the sin nature we were born with but make no mistake: that desire to obey is in us and when we unlock it, we can experience a life full of power and peace. Our obedience voids all fear.

The hand-prints are all around me, in a constant swirl of aberrational mystery. God’s hand remains ever on me yet His hand-prints sometimes fade and that is what I must beware of continually, that it never fades. The world must always be able to look at me and see God’s prints all over my life. Every word uttered, every thought spoken, any idea expressed, each act shared… all must have that in common; the original and undeniable mark and print of the Almighty. You will always see it most evident in the desire to obey.

Peace, SAG

Today’s Scripture: Judges 21:25

25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

A Daily Baptism

June 28                              

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What does it feel like, the water? It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten what it felt like. The cleansing feel of an old life washed away by the cool and renewing, clean and new life.

The daily baptism isn’t about doing the right thing or being all Christ desires me to be, but emerges from an intense love for Jesus and seeking out those things in my life that are not consistent with His very nature. The immediate or Positional Sanctification happens the moment Christ enters into my life. The Progressive Sanctification takes more time. It is ongoing. It is happening with each scripture of Truth I read, each prayer that I pray, each parcel of Holy Spirit knowledge of God that I learn in my daily meditation. And as I grow in Christ, I should be displaying His characteristics and nature more and more. My awareness of my own sin will become greater and greater and though, I don’t necessarily believe the struggle NOT to sin decreases… my wiliness to let sin master my own soul will certainly wane as that battle between flesh and spirit grows until the inevitable moment where something has to give way. So my daily baptism becomes two-fold; one: to stand up and decide “this is right, this is wrong and though I may struggle, I will no longer tolerate living in the ignorance of my sin because Truth has revealed itself to me!” And two: I am standing before the world stating “This is who I believe. This is who I will follow” and, in doing so, I am giving the world – and everyone else – the right to judge whether my life is being consistently lived by the standards of God’s Holy Truth. Yes. It is a scary place to put one’s self, because nobody wants to be seen as a hypocrite. But Truth is Truth. And if we are to truly be followers of Jesus Christ, then we must begin standing each day to proclaim the Love of the Gospel and the Truth of our Savior. My daily baptism isn’t a condemnation of the sin of humanity, but a simple declaration of my own personal decision to begin moving away from my own sin in my own life. I admit that, while my Positional Sanctification is certainly secure in Christ, I fear the lack of obvious progress of my “Progressive” Sanctification may cause others from the outside looking in to question whether or not I really am saved. I’m confident of my eternal standing… but I’d like my life and the manner in which I live it to leave little doubt. This is a painful question that I wrestle with, quite honestly. But the daily baptism begins to lead me into a place where my Sanctification – once stalled out – begins it’s forward motion once again. I’m not doing “good things” to be seen as “good” or “justified” or “redeemed”. I’m not trying to add anything to my own salvation because I know that I can’t. I just want to be closer to God. As close as I can possible be.

Physically, I only need be baptized once. But Spiritually, well… it’s not a bad idea for me to daily baptize myself in His Holy Spirit, in prayer, in His Word, and in an intense desire and longing to move closer into the presence and knowledge of Him. Each day should be like that new baptism of God’s Spirit. It is upon us and we should be wary if we should ever grow tired and weary of His warmth in the midst of that daily baptism.

Just some things I’ve been pondering. Peace to you, today. Sean G.

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

Worked Over By God

June 27                                                

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Is God working you over? More importantly, are you making yourself to be like soft clay within His hands? Am I being kneaded, molded, shaped and created to be more then this clump of clay? Am I resisting God’s efforts to do more through me, to MAKE me more then I am?

God is more then capable. How difficult the job is for Him will be determined by us. I’m like clay left out in the sun or Plato that somebody forgot to put up. I’m no longer moldable. And if God cannot mold me, how can I possibly be used? In the hands of God I become a powerful tool of ministry. In His hands, there is nothing He can’t mold me into. In my hands, I become nothing more then petrified clay. Whose hands am I in? And why would I NOT put myself into His hands? If you are feeling the pain and discomfort of being worked over in the hands of the Lord, fear not… you are merely experiencing the temporary shift and uncomfortable handling of being shaped into His beautiful masterpiece. Trust me… it will be well worth this current discomfort!

Peace, today. SAG

 

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 64:8

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand

The Poverty of My Faith

June 26                               

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Financial hardships suck. There’s just no way around it. My faith is always tested most in these times where there seems to be one financial crisis after another. To arrive at a place of absolute trust in God means traveling through these passages where nothing is visible and all we have to rely upon is our knowledge of God and the deepness of our relationship with Him. But what happens when we no longer feel OR see God? Like the blind making our way in the dark, we must now rely solely on our knowledge of the familiarity of having passed this way before. When our senses leave us, this is all we have to go on. I’ve been this way before, a thousand times, but now I find out if I have learned with eyes shut tight to trust Him or… if I was peeking the whole time.

Depending upon my reaction to difficult seasons, whether they be financial or in some other area, the poverty or wealth of my soul will be spent and all that will remain will be accounts stored up in my faith. Will I be found to have a reservoir stored up there? Or will that be bankrupt as well?

You cannot simply know God will provide or get you through; it isn’t even enough to believe that it is true… you must live like this is true. I will never live this truth until I stop living in the temporal and start living in the Spiritual. Peace, SAG

 

Today’s Scripture: Malachi 3:10

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

The Attractive Path Home

June 25

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“It is difficult enough going home… it is my job, my duty, my sincerest desire and prayer to make their path home as easy to travel as possible…”

 

I’m so proud to watch my son grow. Does he see that? Probably not. When I offer words of correction, often he views it as my disappointment in him.

I am equally proud of seeing my daughter mature into a beautiful woman. And yet, with her as well, I must watch carefully how my instructions come across. She misunderstands my instructions, often mistaking them for severe disappointment – which is never my intention. She can’t see that I am just trying my best to help her begin to know how to act and behave and treat others – including her brother!

With both of my children, I am responsible for putting them on a path towards Godly character. I am training each child not only to be men and woman of character but how to recognize others with these same qualities so that as they choose friends and, ultimately, mates both with have a grounded sense of how to treat others and how they should expect to be treated.

To see them grow and mature brings with it a sadness that is unfamiliar to God in that as we grow and mature spiritually, we are growing towards God while our growth and maturity in the natural world takes us further from our earthly parents. Such is the nature of life’s cycle. I don’t know if this is the way God intended but this is how it typically unfolds.

This causes me to pause and perhaps work a little harder at remaining as close to my own father as I once was as a child. Maybe with my own kids, I can implant some small seed of attract-ability in the hope that – while there will come a time where they will have to go their own way in this world – they will always have a path back home. And, it will be a path that they choose to travel and visit often as we grow old! I try to make the path smooth and free of obstacles now and that takes a great deal of maintenance and care, kind of like mowing the grass. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. Worth the sweat and strain? Absolutely! My words of love and correction, even when misunderstood, if offered in soft wisdom and grace will smooth the path and make for a most attractive and travelable road in the tomorrows to come.

Peace, today. Sean G.

 

Today’s Scripture: Malachi 3:17-18

17 “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

The (Un)Forced Smile

June 24

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Is it ironic that I have this love and weird affection for smiley faces? Probably. But I’m getting too old to really care. I actually like to smile. Not many people know that about me, but… between you and me, that’s the truth.

Smiles feel good. So why don’t we smile more often? True, there’s nothing more painful then a forced smile but sometimes I think we would be better served to do just that: make ourselves smile. Before long, it’s no longer forced.

Smile and smile often. If we wait for a reason to smile, we may forget how to even do it in the first place! It’s not meant to be as easy as we are led to believe – healthy things seldom are. But do yourself (and those around) a favor today… smile. Even if you find yourself in difficult circumstances, try to grin and bare it. The smile you give might just be the beginning of a glorious chain reaction God’s searching for to bless someone He brings along your path today! God is pleased when He sees me smiling in the midst of trouble. I think it’s just another small way for me to Glorify my God. I do believe that even my smile can bless God!

Peace to you 😉 Sean G.

Today’s Scripture: Haggai 1:7-9

7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.

8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD.

9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.

At What Cost

June 23

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I look for the simple pleasures. We all do. But at what cost? Is it better to look for them? Or to just enjoy those God brings across our paths? I have to wonder what’s more pleasurable since it seems that if I’m searching for pleasure it probably isn’t from God to begin with. Are those man-made pleasures comparable to the organic pleasures experienced when found in God’s pleasure? Certainly not!

While I’m searching for simple pleasures, even the harmless ones, I miss those before me every day. A child’s smile, a neighbors wave, a friend’s helping hand, or a heart-felt thank you card left on your desk. When God sends you a soft spring day and some extra time to actually enjoy it… are these pleasures I would ever be able to find on my own or even manufacture myself?

What simple joys do you miss each day while searching for other pleasures? Take the time to stop and ask God two things, right now: first, what are those simple joys that I’ve been missing? And second, what do You desire, Lord, in the midst of my desire to honor You? I guarantee you… You’ll soon find enough pleasurable moments you’ll have so many you’ll have to start looking to give them away. And all it will cost you is the time it takes you to both notice and enjoy them.

Peace, to you today, friends! Sean Gutteridge

 

Today’s Scripture: 2 Samuels 7:1-3

1 Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies,

2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.”

3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.”

The Boldest Request

June 22

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God’s favor finds those clothed in humility but willing to be bold in speaking the words of Truth He will give them. Can you imagine asking for a double portion of God’s Spirit to be poured out on you? That’s bold. The kind of responsibility that comes with such a bold request would be enough to frighten most. And I think it’s this fear that causes most not to ask for God’s Spirit to be poured out on them, let alone a double portion!

So why do we fear God’s Spirit be poured out on us? For many, though lacking in understanding of God’s power, we can still appreciate even the mere idea and hypocrisy this could bring about upon our lives. Constant scrutiny is something most humans succumb to. In short, we know deep down we cannot handle the pressure. You think Satan has turned up the heat on you? Ask (and receive) even a portion of God’s Spirit and then feel the heat of assault the enemy rains down on you. It’s like putting yourself squarely in the cross-hairs of your enemy.

Find the courage to ask God for it. And then be bold enough to humble yourself daily under this yoke of burden and responsibility. What a rush it must be to be covered in the holy spirit of God, elevating his spirit from guide and advisor to master and leader of my life. For guides just point the way through suggestive reasoning based solely on their experience. But leaders will take you there personally, even into harms way.

Peace to you, today. SAG 

Today’s Scripture: 2 Kings 2:9

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”

This Excellent Path

June 21

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The burden of family is a gift. It is a tremendously heavy responsibility with very little margin for error… and that should terrify you. Of all the things I could really mess up, this is the one area where I must excel for the sake of my family.

I don’t excel in the things of Christ because I have yet to decide to excel in the pursuit of His righteousness. I have it within me to be blameless, to be righteous but I have chosen not to be. If I slander, if I gossip, when I hate, when I steal or cheat, I have willfully chosen NOT to be righteous. And once I’ve made these decisions, it becomes impossible to lead my family or anyone for that matter.

Here is what I’ve come to understand: as depressing as it is to be continually failing to stay on the path of righteousness, it is my desire and willingness to keep trying. By pursuing God’s righteousness His Holy Spirit keeps me on that path. And when I stumble or fall, He is the One who puts me right back on it. I discern that I cannot walk it alone. I am humiliated in my failure. But I am no longer content to give up the fight and keep trying to stay on that path. By acknowledging that my ways are not God’s ways; that His ways are the only ones which matter, which ARE right, He upholds me and continues to return to me… Surrounding me with His presence, His compassion, His patience and mercy. Apart from Him, I will fail. With Him, I am sure to excel. And in Him, well… in Him, nothing else matters. This is the most excellent path to be on!

Peace to you, today. Sean Gutteridge

 

Today’s Scripture: Hosea 14:9

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.