Category: <span>thoughts by Allan Mitchell</span>

My first unwanted encounter with anxiety evolved from a series of unexpected, unfortunate, and unsolicited life events.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-7


Imagine an intimidating affliction that inflicts your body with weakness, invades your mind with helplessness, ingrains your emotions with hopelessness, and infects your soul with faithlessness.

My first unwanted encounter with anxiety evolved from a series of unexpected, unfortunate, and unsolicited life events. Anxiety’s shadowy specter ceaselessly challenges my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual demeanor.

Regrettably, in many Christian circles, social stigma and wrong theology imply that flawed faith produces personal anxiety struggles. However, Scripture reveals that Jesus’ divinity did not disqualify His humanity from experiencing overwhelming anxiety. Though He felt it, he did prevent anxiety from exploiting His vulnerable heart and mind by confronting it with persevering prayer and taking every thought captive. He overcame by obediently trusting His Father’s Word, will, and perfect peace. Today’s verse reiterates Jesus’ strategy – confronting anxiety with prayer – soliciting God’s will and seeking God’s peace for a vulnerable heart and mind.

Do you experience anxiety? In today’s turbulent world, anxiety is a common and constant companion for many people – an unavoidable effect of living this side of heaven. It attempts to exploit personal vulnerabilities, oppress self-esteem, and mire conviction. It is no respecter of persons. Flawless faith or mental disciplines do not banish its company. Its stalking presence constantly compels vulnerable lives to despair, but as believers, we can persevere and triumph through truth and trust – knowing that Jesus relates with and knows our struggle. Despite its persistent presence, He enables us to persevere through anxiety’s sordid shadows – shielding our hearts and minds with His perfect peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a Savior who can relate with my ongoing struggles. Protect my heart and mind from anxiety’s effects. Create in me an attitude of thanksgiving and praise. Help me realize that despite my anxious struggles, You are sovereign over every circumstance in my life. Help me to take every though captive by daily affirming the truth of Your Word. Amen.

Thought: Consider using one (or more) of the following strategies for coping with anxiety:

1) Read and pray through Jesus’ wilderness temptation, Gethsemane and Calvary experiences.
2) Confront anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving.
3) Take every thought captive daily by memorizing key Scripture verses that address anxiety and fear.
4) Encourage someone struggling with anxiety by sharing your insights and strategy.

By Allan Mitchell
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FURTHER READING:

Dealing with Despair

Overwhelmed by Negative Feelings?

Fear, Faith and Migraines by Dr. Muriel Larson

Up from Depression  – Barbara Epp shares her journey with depression and the misconception that Christians shouldn’t get depressed.

Hope for the Hopeless

Good News for You


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But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’ John 16:7


Are there times in your faith journey when you feel desperately alone?

There have been many such times in my personal faith adventure – especially during times of unexpected hardship or even personal loss. My head questions my heart’s assurance: “Where is God when I need him?” or “Why isn’t God helping me?” In my vulnerable state of mind, I can easily assume that God has abandoned me, and that I must confront and overcome my adversity in my own strength, in my own wisdom, and completely alone. Through experience, I have learned that perception does not always reflect reality.

Is it possible that Jesus’ inner circle of twelve disciples imagined being alone when he told them that he was going away? Surely, they anticipated hardship and loss at the inevitability of Jesus’ departure. How would they cope without him? How could they persevere through adversity without him nearby? Jesus, foreseeing their inner dilemma, assures them that they will never be alone. In fact, he asserts that going away is good for them in the long term. He promises them a helper – a companion, comforter, and counsellor who will dwell in them, empower them, comfort them, and counsel them. Jesus promises that the Spirit will be with them forever.

Do you perceive that you are alone – especially during difficult life seasons? Remember, perception does not always reflect reality. In today’s broken and hurting world, Christ followers are not exempt from hardship and grief. However, thankfully, God has promised to never abandon us. He provides us with a divine helper who dwells within us to sanctify us and empower us to persevere through any test, trial, or tribulation.

Like God dwelling within the tabernacle and temple, his Holy Spirit dwells within us. We are his temple and sanctuary – saved, sealed, and sanctified – never alone. Jesus assures us, “… Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of never leaving us and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fill me with your Spirit – my companion, comforter, and counsellor – my unwavering assurance of never being alone all the days of my life.

Remind yourself that God assures you that you are never alone. Memorize some of Jesus’ promises regarding the gift of the Spirit.

By Allan Mitchell
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Further Reading

•   Alone But Not Lonely

•  Hope for the Hopeless

•  Salvation Explained


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In Romans, Paul reminds us that God appointed us to reflect the character of Jesus.


For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

Throughout my life, relatives and friends have frequently remarked that I resemble my mother, father, brother, or another distant relative from my clan. Personality traits and tendencies from my ancestral past have become my unconscious and sometimes undesirable hereditary heirloom. Now, in my mature years, I scrutinize their remarks by consciously analyzing my mannerisms, habits, and even my conversational nuances to ensure they reflect my true person.

Although most hereditary traits are endearing and complement character, many traits are compromised by the hereditary nature of sin. As believers in a fallen world, plagued by a natural propensity to express undesirable hereditary habits, we must scrutinize our behavior to ensure that it conforms to the image of Jesus. In Romans, Paul reminds us that God appointed us to reflect the character of Jesus. As Jesus’ adopted brothers and sisters, and part of our Father’s family, we must persevere to reflect Him in word and deed.

Do you reflect the character of your Father’s family? Are you the person God appointed you to be?

Thankfully, God sent the Holy Spirit, as our teacher and helper, to equip and empower us to overcome natural and undesirable traits and tendencies and to authentically reflect Christ in our everyday lives. As Christ followers, we are free from sin’s power — free to become everything the Father foreknew — free to reflect the grandeur and glory of our Father’s family.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing me to become part of Your family. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Empower and equip me to become more like Jesus — reflecting Him in character and deed. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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Further Reading

•  Attributes of God

   The Everlasting God – By Stoddard

•  Salvation Explained


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This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him:  1 John 5:14-15

Do you struggle to experience a fulfilling prayer life?

Admittedly, I know sometimes I do. Lately, the anguish of urgency and impatient expectation is an excruciating, burdensome ritual. My head conflicts with my heart as I cry out for God to answer quickly, but the ongoing sound of silence births even more exasperated cries: Are my prayers bouncing off the ceiling? Is God really listening? A gentle prompting appeases my burden – compelling me to trust and wait, despite the contradictory, untrustworthy counsel of my natural senses.

Throughout Scripture, prophets, priests, and patriarchs remind us that God hears his people’s prayers. Jesus assures us likewise. John echoes Jesus’ assertion by defining our confidence when we approach God’s throne in prayer. John clarifies confidence as knowing God hears prayers that align with his will. He emphasizes his counsel by asserting, “We know . . . whatever we ask . . . we know . . . we have what we asked of him.” John’s counsel exudes trust. He doesn’t need to know all the details. He doesn’t allow his natural senses to avert or affirm God’s ever eternal truth. He surrenders the big picture details confidently before God’s throne by the power of the Holy Spirit living in him.

As Christ followers, we have much to learn from Scripture’s counsel. Our misplaced sense of entitlement to completely understand God’s tactic and timeline can hinder our prayer walk because we don’t see or understand the big picture. The big picture is God’s business. Our prayer mantle and posture are to align our requests with his Word and will. In the interim, between our request and our Father’s response, God influences our perspective, nurtures our relationship, and transforms our trust.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the sound counsel of your Word. Give me the words and wisdom to align my prayers and petitions with your will. Increase my patience as I learn to trust you completely with all the details and surrender my prayers’ outcomes at your throne.

Seek to worship God and pray according to his will by praying through a psalm or other biblical passage

By Allan Mitchell
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Further Reading

•   What Should Be Included in Prayer?
•   Praying with Confidence
•  Salvation Explained

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“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25 & 28

Do you ever prioritize other people’s needs above your own?

Throughout my adolescent years, my parents often instilled in me the value of selflessness. Admittedly, despite their zealous efforts, my immature rebellious nature compelled me to believe that my desires were first priority. Today’s culture resonates a similar me-first-you-second attitude. Secular media relentlessly reinforces this mindset by indoctrinating us with enticing “me first” messages — cultivating an epidemic of narcissism and entitlement.

A common misconception among today’s believers is that God exists to serve us and to fulfill our every desire. Actually, when we decide to follow Christ, we inherit His counter-cultural mantle of servanthood. Scriptural servanthood, as modeled and asserted by Jesus, means giving life away and prioritizing His will above our own will. In opposition to today’s “me first” environment, following Jesus means purposely and prayerfully forfeiting personal plans and purposes in order to prioritize others needs.

Today, even as a mature believer, I still struggle to overcome selfishness. The enemy can exploit my propensity to prioritize self. To overcome self’s seductive appeal, I intentionally choose to set aside some time to prioritize the needs of society’s marginalized. Serving allows me to be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus in His absence. Giving myself away helped me discover the other side of “me” — the side redeemed for His glory — the side chosen for His purposes — the side that chooses to serve despite personal comfort, convenience, and cost.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for saving me to serve. Create in me a servant’s heart. Help me to step outside the comfort and confines of my church and to reflect and serve You in my community. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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•  Serving the Lord Wholeheartedly
•  Your Life is the Only Bible Some People Read

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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

Have you ever been ambushed by spontaneous impure thoughts — thoughts that covertly undermine the essence of your faith? Personally, distracting thoughts sometimes infiltrate my mind, especially when I am praying or contemplating God’s Word — challenging, confronting, or contradicting my character and devotion. Are they my own thoughts or are they the strategic mind games of an oppressive offensive attempting to sabotage my psyche, envelope me in false guilt and shame, and hinder my devotion to loving the Lord with all my heart and mind?

The apostle Paul, who wrote extensively about the enemy’s covert influence on the mind, reiterates that the only way to counter, confront, and combat enemy mind games is for us to recondition our minds by focusing on wholesome thoughts, and ultimately, on the irrefutable truth of God’s Word. Interestingly, Scripture uses the words hearts and minds interchangeably — reflecting an intentional intimate connection that the mind is the gateway to, and the battleground for, the heart. The enemy employs psychological guerrilla warfare on Christ-followers who aspire to sanctify their hearts and minds — hindering a thriving faith walk.

The battle for our minds and hearts is real and ongoing — it is a spiritual struggle for devotion — sometimes subtle, sometimes intense, sometimes debilitating. In today’s multimedia environment, numerous and often toxic media inundate and influence our impressionable minds — consciously and subconsciously. Consequently, we must embrace and practice Paul’s advice — protect, fortify, and recondition our minds with Scripture’s spiritual firewall. Let us daily and prayerfully strive to sanctify a sound mind fully devoted to purity by taking “captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to recognize the enemy’s mind games. Help me to counter, confront, and combat enemy mind games by strengthening my spiritual firewall — avoiding toxic media, immersing myself in your Word, and taking every thought captive in obedience to you.

Throughout the day ask the Spirit to make you sensitive to any lie or ungodly thought you begin to entertain. Invite him to turn your eyes fully on Jesus so that your thoughts are filled with worship as you go from task to task.

By Allan Mitchell
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With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”  James 3:9-10

Have you ever said something to someone, then later, upon reflecting, regret that you spoke unwisely?

In my youth, when I spoke disrespectfully or with emotional malice, my Scottish Nana, without hesitation, snapped, “Haud yer wheesht (hold your tongue).” Regrettably, as an adult, I have since spoken unwisely and irreverently many times – in a personal and professional context. Why do we have a propensity to exploit, justify, or rationalize our own position, power, or pride by uttering thoughtless words? Why do we so often stumble to talk the walk?

Numerous times, Scripture emphasizes and contrasts our obligation to sound speech, wise words, and the unconscionable power of the tongue. In James chapter 3, James confronts our apparent and prevalent flaw. Reiterating Scripture’s counsel regarding speech etiquette, he reminds us that although the tongue is a small body part, it is a fire “no human being can tame… a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James emphasizes the consequence of unrestrained speech – stressing the contradiction of praising and cursing coming from the same tongue. Confronting this prevailing contradiction, he resolves that for Christ-followers, “this should not be.”

Is it possible to tame our tongue?

Only with God’s help.

Practically, think before speaking. Choose and use words wisely – intentionally avoiding gossip, soul-searing slander, emotional malice, and derogatory words that crush the spirit, scar the psyche, and deeply wound the Christ-cherished soul. Petition heaven’s counsel, abandon selfish ambition, seek wisdom’s gentleness, and season speech with immeasurable grace. Aspire to talk the walk – reflecting Jesus’ heart – preserving personal integrity and the other person’s dignity.

Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me for hurting and wounding someone with my thoughtless words. Help me to be conscious of how I speak to people. Empower me with words that reflect respect, righteousness, and my relationship with you. May my speech be seasoned with grace – intentional words that reflect integrity and communicate and cultivate dignity within my personal and professional spheres of influence.

Thought: I will invite the Spirit to direct my thoughts, words, and actions so that his love, wisdom, and compassion are manifested through me.

By Allan Mitchell
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“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”  1 John 2:5-6

Do you have the privilege of having someone in your life who mentors and inspires you? Parents, teachers, pastors, and occupational mentors can model and teach us essential skills that equip us to live life successfully.

An indispensable aspect of the teacher-learner relationship, which assures and affirms correctness and consistency, is that we inevitably and obediently live out what we learn by practicing, modelling, and reflecting upon our life tutor’s lessons, and then inspire other life learners.

In today’s passage, the Apostle John reminds us that Jesus is our ultimate life mentor, and more importantly, the confirmation of our teacher-disciple relationship with him is that we practice, model, and reflect his life lessons and his commandments in our daily lives. Furthermore, John emphasizes that when we faithfully and obediently walk in his Word, we express an authentic love for God. John reiterates that “we know we are in him” when we embrace the mantle of obedience and walk the talk by living life “as Jesus did.”

Christ-followers, who desire an authentic discipleship experience in the power of the Holy Spirit, must prayerfully and humbly embrace Jesus’ mantle of obedience – enlarging their sphere of influence beyond the church walls to authentically reflect our life tutor’s love, lessons, and life to a hurting and seeking world.

Walking in his Word reflects our love for God and sanctifies our soul by transforming us to become a greater influence on others while also transforming us into the image of Jesus.

Will you allow Jesus to inspire you?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that your Word is faithful. Through the Holy Spirit, empower me to embrace your mantle of obedience so that I can daily and faithfully walk in your Word and live more like Jesus. Increase my sphere of influence, beyond the church walls, so I can live out my faith in a world that is crying out for a Savior. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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How to get ‘Holy Spirit’ Power

How you can Walk in the Spirit – printable lesson (pdf file)

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“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”  Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

Do you struggle with regret?  

If yes, then you are not alone.

Throughout my life, often because of action or inaction, decision, or indecision — both trivial and crucial, I have experienced regret.

Regret is a common human emotion or feeling with variable intensity. Nobody is exempt from experiencing regret at some point in life. However, when we allow regret to illegitimately consume us, it births and breeds unwarranted shame and guilt and inescapably paralyzes our faith walk. Inevitably, we waste our sorrow on past outcomes — we often cannot change.

Scripture conveys many instances of human regret. Paul reflected on his former self, Saul, and how he zealously prosecuted, ravaged, and condemned many Jesus followers. Although we cannot know Paul’s inner thoughts, we can imagine the turmoil of personal regret. In Philippians, Paul implored his readers to keep a healthy perspective. Paul, undeterred by his own sordid past and maybe not allowing regret to consume him, resolved to persevere through by focusing on God’s call, glory, and prize.

Regretting sin is healthy, but, as Christ-followers, we cannot allow life regret to paralyze our faith walk. We need to allow our regrets to be our tutor, so we learn from life’s mistakes. Then we can confess our sins and be reconciled. Like Paul, we can embrace regret as an opportunity to reassess our perspective.

Do you dwell on your past regrets? Don’t waste your sorrows dwelling on the past – especially past outcomes you often have no power to change.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unending grace. Protect me from my own understanding and limited perspective. Help me to tell the difference between sin and common life mistakes. Help me not dwell in the past by living life through a rear-view mirror, but helping me to focus on life’s road ahead by seeing and living life from a kingdom perspective, embracing your call and pressing on. Amen.

By Alan Mitchell
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  1. God’s Plan – A Study on God’s Destiny for Me?
  2. How to Spend a Day With the Lord
  3. Hearing God’s Voice – a Study by Charles Stanley

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“‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’”  Luke 4:18 & 19

Has the recent health crisis changed your perception of what is important on this side of eternity?

We now live in a world where social distancing and potential self-isolation define our new normal.

As Christ followers, how do we remain socially influential? How do we appropriately respond to those within our sphere of influence during an unpredictable and unprecedented season of perceived oppression and fear?

In Luke’s gospel, reiterating Isaiah’s words, Jesus defined his mission mandate. His words reflected the Father’s heart by emphasizing and summarizing God’s call and ultimate commission as Jesus began his earthly ministry assignment. Jesus, emulating the Father, embraced his mandate to reconcile a broken and hurting world to the Father. Jesus, while on earth, was the Father’s hands, feet, and voice, proclaiming the gospel of heaven’s hope:

freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, the oppressed free, and “the Lord’s favor.

Remarkably, toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, he challenged, called, and commissioned his followers to embrace his mission mantle by continuing to be his hands, feet, and voice to a fallen and broken world once he ascended back to the Father. We now have the Holy Spirit to assist us in doing this.

As our Father sent Jesus, Jesus also sends us. The world is watching — not impressed or influenced by just what we say, but by how we authentically and credibly emulate Jesus. As his appointed ambassadors and messengers to a world immersed in chaos and calamity, our call is to be Jesus’ hands, feet, and voice proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor to a world desperately seeking a Savior.

Ask the Lord how you can emulate Jesus within your sphere of influence despite the restrictions imposed by this pandemic.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your everlasting mercy and grace, and for the honor and privilege of being your hands, feet, and voice among those you seek to save. Empower me with your Spirit. Give me the words and wisdom to credibly and authentically reflect you among the people I encounter in my daily walk. Enlarge my sphere of influence so that I may proclaim your sovereignty and grace to a world desperately seeking a Savior. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Luke 11:9-10

Do you believe God answers prayer? For many Christ-followers, this question produces anxiety because they feel that Heaven’s response is sometimes uncertain. That can evoke searching, serious questions.

If I knock on Heaven’s door expecting prompt, specific answers, I can experience doubt, discouragement, and sometimes disillusionment. Consequently, my head betrays my heart and I reluctantly assume God is not listening or answering.

In Luke 11, Jesus clarifies how to pray. His prayer model involves adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Interestingly, he then shares a story in order to explain that God truly does hear and answer prayer. It’s not primarily because of his relationship with the pray-er, but because of that person’s “shameless audacity” and persistent perseverance to petition Heaven.

Jesus assures us that breakthrough prayer requires persistent asking, seeking, and knocking. Jesus’ words affirm Heaven’s promise and response. “ … Everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds … to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”(Luke 11:10).

Does Jesus’ assurance encourage you to keep knocking on Heaven’s door, audaciously petitioning God for all your needs? Prayer is our privilege and communication channel to our Father. It is a relational necessity for Christ-followers.

Practice the posture of persevering prayer. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking until Heaven’s answer comes to pass. May your prayers audaciously ascend to Heaven like sweet incense to God’s throne of grace and align you with his Word and his will for your life.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word and that you always hear my prayers. Protect my heart from discouragement and disillusionment. May my prayers be a sweet incense to your throne by aligning with your Word and will. Empower me with patience and a posture of perseverance so that I continue to audaciously petition Heaven for my loved ones and my needs. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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“… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity.”  John 17:21-23

How would you define intimacy?

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines intimacy as “close familiarity or friendship.” Intimacy involves many expressions and depths. The deepest level of relational intimacy, as ordained by God, is found within marriage and involves a lifelong experience of becoming one with your spouse and life partner. Interestingly, throughout Scripture, reflecting and reiterating his marriage intimacy model, God desires the same depth of intimacy with those he loves by becoming one with his creation.

In John 17, Jesus, through prayer, tells his beloved disciples that the Father still desires, ordains, and pursues relational intimacy with his people. The “complete unity” Jesus asks for communicates more than an agreement or harmony. It is oneness — the same relational intimacy Jesus experiences with the Father. It’s the same oneness people experience within the marriage relationship. Paul, reasserting the Father’s intimacy model, reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Is it possible for us to experience oneness with the Lord?

As Christ followers, we experience relational intimacy or oneness through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through obediently cultivating a relational intimacy with the Spirit by faith, we experience the essence of God.

As our ever-accessible companion, confidant, and counsellor, God graciously continually romances his beloved. Through the Holy Spirit he is nurturing, sanctifying, and preparing us as his future bride for complete unity — to become one with him forever.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for desiring relational intimacy with me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may experience oneness in you. Empower me to daily cultivate our relationship by faith. May your Spirit sanctify me daily and prepare me to reflect your beloved and in the fullness of time, to experience complete oneness as your worthy bride. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. However, true prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:

“Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have be

en directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”

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Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. John 15:9-11 (NASB)

In today’s confused fallen world, love is a complex and ambiguous word. As I reflect on my life, I am fortunate to have lived in a home where my parents loved each other. Their enduring relationship cultivated an environment of refuge and happiness. My parents’ relationship thrived primarily because they were fortunate to have parents and other relatives’ model love, cultivate it, and express its profound rewards — not merely an emotional reward, but an enduring affection that remains steadfast for a lifetime.

As believers living in a confused culture, we need to know how to express and reflect love, and to experience its abiding joy. Jesus, in his concluding chat with his disciples, defines abiding love and its related affect. First, he assures them that he faithfully loved them the same way his Father loved him. Jesus clarifies his disclosure by emphasizing that abiding in his love means keeping his commandments ? just as he abided in his Father’s love by keeping his commandments. Jesus then assures them that he shared these truths with them so they could experience the relational intimacy of his immeasurable joy ? love’s abiding joy.

So, how do we, in today’s culture, emulate Jesus’ counter cultural love model? Simply, we keep his commandments ? not in a legalistic manner, but in a way that honors and reflects our love for Jesus and our Father. Loving the Lord transcends a fleeting emotional experience. Loving him and abiding in his love allows us to experience his joy ? love’s abiding joy!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending the Living Word, Jesus. Teach me your commandments. May your Spirit write them on the tablet of my heart. Empower me to honor you and love you the same way Jesus honored and loved you that I may continually experience the same intimate relational abiding joy. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
Used by Permission

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“Therefore we do not lose heart…for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16a-18

During a difficult season in my life, affliction, anxiety, and doubt clouded my perspective. Overwhelmed by my current reality, my mind contradicted my heart. I slowly began to only see life through an earthly perspective — forgetting that my current circumstances were momentary and would pass. I focused on them instead of choosing to see that the sun still shines behind life’s dark clouds, despite my murky perspective.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul implores us to embrace a faith perspective. Christ followers are not exempt from adversity. Regardless of how we perceive life or how overwhelming our troubles appear, Paul assures us they are momentary when seen through an eternal perspective, which he defines as assessing our circumstances through our spiritual eyes and not our physical eyes. When we do that, ultimately, our distresses “are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Do you struggle to embrace a healthy perspective amidst life’s adversity? Often, perspective is a heart matter. God knows your situation. Do not lose heart. Jesus reiterates,

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”  John 16:33

Jesus, who experienced every manner of adversity and persecution yet overcame the world, will empower you to walk by faith and not by sight — to embrace an eternal persevering perspective regardless of life’s adversity so you can be

“…more than conquerors through him who loved us”  Romans 8:37

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you promised to be with me in times of trouble. Holy Spirit, help me to fix my eyes on Jesus. Help me to discern life’s adversity with an eternal perspective. Strengthen my resolve to daily immerse myself in your presence and word that I may be able to overcome any circumstance along life’s way. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Have you ever walked through a vineyard? In John chapter 15, Jesus’ words to His disciples about enduring fruit reveal that He had clearly passed through many vineyards while paying close attention. He had no doubt observed a caretaker faithfully preparing the grape vines for harvest: tenderly and thoroughly examining each vine and its branches to ensure maximum yield for the growing season and for many seasons to come.

Jesus uses the metaphor of the vineyard to emphasize, among other things, the necessity of the Father tenderly trimming fruitful branches so they can produce even greater yield. The Father’s shears separate the unproductive branches from the vine, enabling the remaining branches to flourish.

What do you need pruned from your life to become more fruitful? Pruning can be painful and perplexing, but every believer, regardless of call or creed, and as long as he or she remain organically connected to the true vine, is commissioned and pruned to bear eternal fruit — fruit that glorifies the Lord of the harvest. Would you consider yourself a fruitful believer? If your answer is yes, then ask the Lord to tenderly and thoroughly trim your life and empower you to thrive and flourish as you faithfully abide in Him. If your answer is no, then choose to make Jesus the center of your life once again.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your enduring love. Help me to discern and to surrender to the daily pruning process so that I can faithfully and effectively bear fruit for Your kingdom. Empower me for maximum yield in the harvest fields of my sphere of influence. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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