God Connect: Daily Renewing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

A Living Sacrifice

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Romans 12:1-2

I’ve recently been reading about the sacrifices that the Israelites were required to make in the Old Testament.   On one hand, it makes me thankful that we do not have to make such sacrifices today.  There were specific guidelines to follow in perfecting the sacrifice given.  The children of Israel were accountable for following the guidelines to a tee.  I’m grateful that Christ was our sacrifice and we’re no long under those laws.

However, on the other hand, I realize the great responsibility we now have when we the Bible commands us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.  Sacrifices in the Old Testament had to be without spot or blemish.  God is asking the same of us today.  He teaches us not to be conformed to this world.  Instead, He wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Today I challenge you to renew your mind.  Spend time with God through prayer and Bible study.  As Him to forgive you for the ways you’ve been conforming to the world and to help you live daily without spot or blemish.  Although we don’t have rules about offering animals, God still wants us to offer ourselves today.  It is our reasonable service.

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Focus on the Good Things

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

It’s such a sweet feeling and existence to have your mind focused on God.  When you realize that He’s walking with you and guiding you, it’s nice to feel the comfort and peace in His presence.  Many times I feel that God is calling out to us.  He’s reaching out and inviting us to walk with Him in His presence, but most of the time we’re too busy filling our hearts and minds with other things to realize it.

The busyness of our lives diverts our attention from God and from what truly matters.  We let worry and bad news cloud our minds and consume our thoughts.  However, Philippians 4:8 teaches us what we should be focusing our thoughts upon.  It tells us to think on things that are true, honest, just, of good report, of virtue, and of praise.  If we could truly focus on the good things God wants us to see, we wouldn’t have the time to let the bad and worrisome things cloud our minds.

My challenge for you today is to train yourself to divert your thoughts.  If you find yourself dwelling on the negative, change your thoughts by thanking God for something good He’s done.  In doing so, you will be more focused on Him.  Then, when He beckons you to walk with Him, you will be ready, focused, and willing.

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“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

It’s no secret that in this life we are going to face problems, but how we handle them is the question.  In the midst of a troublesome circumstance, do you let worry and fear consume your life, or do you turn to God and trust Him for the answers?  Exodus 20:3 shows us that the first commandment is thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Most of the time we relate that to physical idols or things we put before God that become an idol in our lives.

However, how many times do we examine our thoughts to make sure we aren’t building idols in our minds.  Anytime we put more focus or emphasis on something else than God, it is considered an idol.  I wonder how many times we let worry occupy too much space in our minds and let it become more of a focus than God. Inevitably, we are going to face situations that tempt us to worry and fear.  Worry comes as second nature to many of us. But today I challenge you, instead of consuming your thoughts with worry and fear, focus your attention on God’s goodness and on His promise to be with you and comfort you in trouble.

“The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9

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The Body of Christ

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”  1 Corinthians 12:12

As Christians we are all part of the body of Christ.  Each Christian has a job to fulfill and a specific gift that is an ability just for them.  Are you doing your part to make sure the body operates properly?  Your actions, as a Christian, affect all the members of the body, your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Many times we’re tempted to slack off because we feel like our job is less important and maybe takes less effort.  However, the Bible instructs us in 1 Corinthians 12 that there are no more or less honorable positions.  There are no big I’s or little you’s in the body of Christ.  Just as our little toe is essential for giving us balance and each body part is essential to make the body function as a whole, so is each member within the body of Christ.

Today I challenge you to find your position in the body of Christ.  There is a function just for you, specially made for your talents and abilities.  Once you discover your role, perform it wholeheartedly.  In doing so, you will see unity and Godly perfection within the body of Christ.

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.”  1 Corinthians 12:31

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23

As Christians we are usually known by the fruit we bear.  What does your fruit say about you?  Are you a follower of God who blossoms with the characteristics of Him?  Is your fruit still in the ripening process?  Have you even been growing any fruit this season?  The way we react to the circumstances in our lives tells a lot about the fruit we’re bearing.

Showing love to our fellow Christians and to every as well as focusing on developing joy, peace, faith, longsuffering, and temperance in our lives should be a priority.  We should be working toward gentleness, meekness, and goodness as we interact with others.  The Bible tells us the benefit of being well-rooted and striving to produce much fruit in Psalm 1:3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Today I challenge you to inspect your fruit.  Get rid of the “bad” fruit (or bad characteristics) in your life.  Spend time planting the desired fruits by praying, witnessing, helping others, studying your Bible, attending church, and being in fellowship with other Christians.  In turn, others will begin to notice the fruit you’re growing.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

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“The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?  the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

Many times things of this life weigh us down and steal our strength or motivation to go on.  Stress consumes us and the busyness of our lives wears us down.  Sickness and other factors cause fatigue.  Sometimes it seems all we need is just some time to rest, but so many things must be done and there’s no time to slow down.

It’s in times like these we realize our own human bodies can only be stretched so far.  It’s also in times like these, we’re reminded where our true strength lies.  Isaiah 40:29 reminds us of the true source of our strength, “He (God) giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”  When we have not an ounce of strength left in us, it’s comforting to know that God increases our strength.  He gives us the push we need to go on.  Through His power, He increases our strength.  We shouldn’t take it lightly, but give Him the glory for it.  For without Him, we would be nothing and could do nothing.

Today I challenge you to look to God for strength.  Whether it be physical strength to press on or mental strength to face troubles and trials, God is the giver of it all.  When we’re weak, He is made strong!

“It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Psalm 18:32

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Loving God

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17

God is most always beyond our comprehension.  He has always existed (which we can’t even imagine), and He chose to create us.  He has the ability to design the beauty of this world and create it all from scratch, yet He still cares enough about us to know our deepest thoughts and feelings.  He can juggle millions of details all at once and even has the hairs on our heads numbered.  His power, wisdom, and strength are no less than awesome.  His character is exemplary.  He chose to offer His son for the ransom for our sins… a sacrifice that is unimaginable.

His love for us is beyond breathtaking.  He offers us grace and mercy.  He hears our pleas for forgiveness as we are sinners, and offers us guidance, comfort peace and joy as Christians.  He’s the most loving Father, faithful friend, and wisest mentor we will ever have.  With all the amazing qualities and attributes of God, how can we NOT love Him?  He’s everything we will ever need!

Today, I challenge you to deepen your love for God.  Take some time to focus on who He truly is and how good He’s been to you.  In doing so, you will find a desire to strengthen your love for Him.  Doesn’t He deserve it?!?

“The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.”  Psalm 145:20

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“I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”  Psalm 85:8

Peace… slow down for just a minute and meditate on that word.  Isn’t it nice just to think of the state of perfect peace we all long for?  Thankfully, that state of perfect peace doesn’t just have to be a dream.  God wants us to have peace in our lives.  When we’re trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us we will find that we have peace, as peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians.

Having peace doesn’t assure us that every situation in our lives will go smoothly and nothing bad will ever happen.  However, it does assure us that we will have an attitude of acceptance and thankfulness for everything (whether it be good or bad) in our lives.  There will inevitably be situations in our lives that we don’t understand, but in times of confusion, doubt, and worry we can look to the peace we have in knowing God is in control to help get us through. God wants to give us peace and strengthen the peace we have in Him.  All we have to do is ask.

My challenge for you today is to ask God to give you peace in every situation.  Ask Him to guide you and strengthen you in situations you don’t understand.  In turn, you will come to know the peace that passeth understanding.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

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God’s Faithfulness

“If ye believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”  2 Timothy 2:13

It’s so easy to get discouraged by the things and people in this life that are not faithful to us.  We buy things expecting them to last forever, yet they break or wear out.  We put our faith in others only to find that they somehow let us down.  Our friends get busy and don’t have time for us anymore.  Promises are broken in relationships.  People you thought you could count on or even look up to turn their back on you.  It seems like it gets harder every day to put your faith in people, even in the people you love.  It can truly get us downhearted at times.

The Bible reminds us, however, of God’s faithfulness in Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”  Unfortunately, many times we let our lack of faith in others hinder us from giving ourselves completely to God.  We fear He might let us down, just as everyone else has.  However, we can rest assured that God is faithful.  He loves us and won’t let us down.  Today, I challenge you to open your heart to God and give yourself to Him.  In turn, you will experience His faithfulness in every aspect of your life.

“O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”  Isaiah 25:4

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Count It All Joy

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3

The last thing we want to do when facing trials and temptations is take heed to the advice that James gives in James 1:2-3, “count it all joy.”  When troubles come our way, it’s easy for us to throw our hands up and say we’re through.  However, realizing that we will have trials, and deciding to take a positive outlook on them instead of resenting them will help to strengthen us as Christians.

One way to keep a positive outlook is by realizing that we will suffer through trials and temptations.  Peter reminds us of this in 1 Peter 4:12-13 when he writes, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Another way to keep a positive outlook on your trials is by realizing that you don’t have to face them alone.  You don’t have to muster up enough courage and strength to face your trials.  All you have to do is realize that it’s Christ’s strength and not your own.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Philippians 4:13

My challenge for you today is to develop a positive outlook on your trials.  Whether it’s something your going through right now, or something that you will face in the future, put your trust in God’s hands and let Him use it to help you grow and mature as a Christian.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”  James 1:12

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