Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Purpose of Negative Emotions

Sunset over Snow Covered Mountains

Many people misunderstand the purpose of negative emotions that we experience. They are red flags from our soul to alert us to a situation that needs our attention.

We may have unresolved conflicts from our past that are causing our soul's current unrest, but God gives us wisdom when we take these issues to Him in prayer.

Feelings such as anger, fear, resentment, hopelessness, rejection, confusion, invalidation, bitterness, depression, etc. alert us to issues festering in our soul.

The root of these emotions is hidden in an experience, which muddied the peaceful stream of our soul. Until we find this root of unrest, and bring it to God to heal, it will continually stir up strife in the depths of our soul.

The moment that God speaks His truth to us about this situation, however, the passion within the negative emotion is extinguished and the joy of the Lord returns.

When we rid our soul of the splinter of experience that is still festering deep in our subconscious mind, our current emotions lose much of their power over us, and we react to life less violently.

We are also able to enjoy each moment as God gives it to us, because we are unencumbered by negative emotions. We experience the freedom of soul that God intends for us to enjoy.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us the importance of daily inventories of the symptoms of our body and our soul. Remind us to follow the trail of tears from the negative emotions that are disturbing our peace, back to the experience where Satan planted his lies that are causing them.

Help us to see that they may not be rooted in the current situation we are experiencing, but in some instances they stem from issues, which are far back in our past. Give us courage and wisdom as we seek Your healing for all of the negative emotions that rob us of our joy in the current moments of our day.

Thought for the Day:
We are able to enjoy each moment as God gives it to us, if we are encumbered by negative emotions that act as chains to bind us to our past.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

An Eternal Focus

Free stock photo of nature, water, flowers, lake


Christians often think that to enjoy the features of living on this earth is to be earthly minded; and to pray, read the Bible and do Christian work is to live a holy, spiritually-minded life. This is not necessarily true.

God created all good things for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). He put us on this diverse and beautiful planet so that we can enjoy His glory and majesty surrounding us. All creation points us to the reality of His existence (Romans 1:20).

God also gifts us with talents in music, mechanics, giving, art, engineering, caring, teaching, technology, preaching, serving, etc. We actually balance out our earthly pursuits when we do them with a spiritual mind, in response to the leading of God's Spirit and for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Our soul - our thoughts, emotions and choices - requires times of leisure and recreation in order to maximize its effectiveness. If our soul does not prosper, our body and spirit will suffer also (3 John 1:2).

The problem arises when we only focus on this world and our soul. The type of recreation and the amount of time and money we put into earthly pursuits determines whether or not we are catering to the flesh.

We relate to our physical world with our five senses and also involve our desires, instinct and intellect. We interact in the spiritual world through our spirit, which is Born Again at the moment of salvation.

If our focus is consumed with the natural aspects of life, our spirit will suffer, and our body and soul will endure deprivation as well. If we attempt to perfect our self through the flesh, rather than through the Spirit of Christ in us, all that we reap is more flesh.

As we focus on God's will for each moment of our day, He works out His sanctification and perfection in us, and gives us a fulfilled life that blesses everyone that comes in contact with us.

Prayer:
Father God, lead us to live a healthy life in body, soul and spirit. Help us to see that if we primarily focus on fleshly, carnal aspects of life – even positive things such as our job, church, family and hobbies - they become idols. If we focus on religious aspects of life, we grow self-righteous and judgmental. You give us balance if we seek You and Your will for each moment of our day.

You desire that we carry Your spirituality and will into every detail of our daily lives (Colossians 3:17). We do all things through the strength and energy You supply for us. In this way, we cannot take any credit, but we will give you all of the glory and power forever and ever (1 Peter 4:10-11). We thank You for Your comfort, and ask You to comfort others through us (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Though for the Day:
If we trust in our own abilities and wealth, we will fail; but as we step aside and allow God to bless others through us, we will prosper as well. - Proverbs 11:28


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finding Freedom in Surrender - Bible Paradoxes

Red and Pin Rosebuds


Surrender has never been a positive word or concept. If we surrender in a war, we admit that we are the losers. If we surrender to a major illness and it takes our life, we are considered as weak and that we gave up rather than fight for our life.

Yet, in the Christian walk, if we lose our life, we gain life (Matthew 10:39). This is called a Biblical Paradox - two contradictory statements that are surprisingly both true!

There are many paradoxes in God's Word:
  •  Living in full surrender to the Trinity, we are freed from our flesh, the world, and the devil - John 8:32-36.
  • If we give away, we gain; if we keep for our self, we tend to poverty - Proverbs 11:24; Acts 20:35. 
  • To truly live, we must die - Philippians 1:21
  • Depending on God in our weakness gives us His true strength - 2 Corinthians 12:10.
  • As bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ we find fulfilling freedom - Romans 6:18.




In order to surrender, we first learn humility. God resists the proud; but blesses the humble (James 4:6). Jesus humbled Himself to take on human form and die for our sins (John 3:16-17), and now He is exalted, as we will be also in eternity (James 4:10; Philippians 2:8-9).

Unreservedly surrendering to Jesus Christ, without any hesitation or attachment to this world, brings us true peace and joy that is never available without fully surrendering to Christ in us (John 14:27).

Surrendering all to Christ, we gain His forgiveness, peace, provision, blessings, character and identity. We lose our insecurities, pride, self-centeredness, etc. and gain His love, power and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Prayer:
Father God, surrendering to Your wisdom and love gives us peace that does not depend on our earthly circumstances. We relinquish our goals, opinions and dreams and fully embrace Your will for our life. Help us not to resist Your Spirit's guidance or to rely on our human understanding, but to trust in Your mercy and grace, which is new every single morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Jesus is our all in all. He is our whole life and we need nothing and no one else to live a fulfilled life (Colossians 3:3-4). We find our center, our "true north", our equilibrium and our gratifying path in life in full surrender to Your will. Help us also to find freedom from Satan's lies that keep us captive to fear, so that we can walk in Your perfection and freedom.
( www.transformationprayer.org )

Thought for the Day:
God uses trials and adversity to bring us to the end of our self-sufficiency, so that we are willing to permanently throw our self totally into surrender to His love and care every moment of every day.


Friday, October 13, 2017

God Keeps Life from Hurting so Much

Red Yellow and Orange Flower Field


We all have days where circumstances attempt to derail our faith, when we feel like giving up, and when our trials overwhelm us to the point of hopelessness.

Our body aches, we are mentally and maybe even emotionally exhausted, and conflicts plague us from morning until night. Fears afflict us from within our soul and we despair of life and long for heaven.

When we are pressured from every side, we feel as if we are going to explode. If we take these pressures to God instead of fretting over them our self, we will not be crushed by them (2 Corinthians 4:8).

We may find our self perplexed and misguided, anxious or frustrated; but as long as we totally immerse our faith in His faithfulness, God will never allow us to fall into despair.

Singing God's praises and reading His Word rescue us from the quick sand of this world. God uses these means to change our focus from fear of the future, depression over life now and regret over our past to rejoicing over eternity in His presence.

He keeps life from hurting so much. He renews our hope, not in people or life, but in His love for us. With our hope in God, He renews our strength. Like eagles, we rise above our circumstances with the wings of God's Spirit (Isaiah 40:31).

We experience God's glory in us and all around us, regardless of the issues that we face (Colossians 1:27). As we listen to God's Spirit within us, He fills us to overflowing with all of the fullness of the Trinity (Ephesians 3:16-19).

This allows us to continue to run through the race of life with confidence in Christ in us, and we do not grow weary. Our hope is in God and we do not faint (Isaiah 40:31).  

Prayer:
Father God, You give us Your wisdom when we lack understanding (James 1:5). If we feel inferior or inadequate, You remind us that we are Your children and co-heirs with King Jesus. You will never leave us or abandon us (Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:13).

If Satan plagues us with guilt over our past, Jesus removes condemnation for those who trust in You (Romans 8:1). In our times of trouble, we cast our cares on You, because You truly care for us (1 Peter 5:7). Thank You for designing our life so that Christ in us actually gives us His peace in exchange for our worries (Philippians 4:6, 7; 1 Peter 5:7; John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
Our success and fulfillment in life are sweeter once we taste the agony of defeat; and then find our joy and strength in the Lord. Regardless of our circumstances, we overcome and live victoriously. - Nehemiah 8:10




Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Reality of a Life in Christ

Free stock photo of water, blur, ripple, close-up

Our transformation into the likeness of Christ lasts a lifetime. Like the proverbial spiritual onion, God's Spirit deals with one layer at a time. He heals us, going deeper and deeper into the inner core of our soul.

He showers us with His mercy and grace, giving us the mind of Christ, and teaching us to rely only on Him for our love, peace, joy, encouragement, and guidance (John 4:10).

When we go astray, and find our self lonely and isolated or wandering purposelessly, He draws us close to Himself and shepherds us as His sheep, caring for all of our needs as the Good Shepherd (Matthew 9:38, 11:28).

God encourages us to ask for what we need, and to continue asking until He provides for our needs. He rarely answers as we expect Him to, but He always provides more and better than we ever thought possible (Matthew 7:7).

At times, we tend to discount our soul and we hide from God. We take cover behind a false facade to feel safe and to impress other people.

That is why taking a searching inventory of our whole being is a discipline worth cultivating. What negative emotions are fueling our thoughts and behavior; how is our body reacting to our circumstances; how are our unresolved inner conflicts affecting us and our relationships?

When we get to know our soul and what we really need, think and feel, we can better understand why we say and act in certain ways. Journaling is a great tool to help us get to the root of our issues.

God has a perfect plan for our whole life in body, spirit and soul - our thoughts, emotions and choices. He offers us an intimate, personal relationship with Him that starts at Salvation and lasts throughout eternity.

The challenge in receiving God's care is for us to develop a deeper personal relationship with Him, at the same time that we get in touch with our own soul - our real, inner core and identity.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to become more aware of how we are really feeling and how those emotions, some coming from our subconscious mind, cause us to speak and act in ways that we do not understand. This crazy behavior may cause rifts in our current relationships. Remind us that we can use Your Words of Life from Your Holy Bible, especially the Psalms, to express our deepest needs and feelings.

Praying Your scriptures helps us to better connect to You and to our authentic self. The Psalmists, and even Jesus Himself, felt every emotion that we feel during our trials in life. Your Word is life to us, Living Water that quenches our thirsty soul. Like a deer, we pant after Your Truth and thrive on its refreshment and wisdom.

Thought for the Day:
God is always with us, either in companionable silence or active communication; but we have to live in the awareness of His still, small voice as we face who we really are inside. With God's wisdom, His Spirit's direction, and the redemption offered only by Christ's sacrifice on Calvary's cross we live a fulfilled Christian life.






Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We Humble Our Self in the Sight of the Lord

Free stock photo of flowers, summer, meadow, blossom

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6-7). Jesus gave us the ultimate example of humility, all the way to Calvary's cross.

Humility releases us from the tyranny that pride demands from us: to live at the top of our game, to succeed at everything we endeavor to do and to be better than everyone else - to be perfect.

When we "let go and let God", we find freedom from the oppression of pride. We no longer have the need to be perfect or to live up to everyone else's expectations.

We reject the crippling defeat, which comes from the criticism and negative opinions of significant others in our life, as well as from self-disapproval - which is very debilitating.

God taught me that the quickest way to humility is to apologize. This allows us to walk in humility before we eventually humiliate our self.

We do not need to use the word "sorry" in our reconciling conversation; this may heap shame on our soul unnecessarily. 

We are not pathetic or sorry, we are victors in Christ. We make mistakes, so we apologize for them.

When we express regret over our words or behavior, we simply say, "I apologize for…." We do not include excuses and justification for them. We simply make the apology for causing another person stress, hurt or other negative emotions.

The amazing side effect of apologizing is an increase in trust levels and love that flows more readily between us and those to whom we apologize, especially those who are willing to hear from us why we acted the way we did and to improve their actions and reactions to what we say and do.

Prayer:
Father God, we want to humble our self in Your sight, knowing that You are our glory and the lifter of our head (James 4:10; Psalm 3:3). You enable us to overcome pride and to restore relationships with those we wounded. You enable us to walk free from the failings in our past and to walk victoriously into Your future for us.

You make us a new creation, free from the bondage to the past and the fear of the future. You give us the strength to take care of issues in our life that we can positively effect, and the ability to leave everything else in Your capable hands. We trust You above all and we thank You for Your involvement in every area of our life.

Thought for the Day:
It is possible to admit the failings in our life without feeling like a failure; we simply confess our shortcomings to those we offend, and we grow in respect and unconditional love for our self and others.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Uphill Paths Made Straight

Yellow Sunflower Macro Photographyt


The wisdom and power that we need to survive in this world come only from the crucified Christ within us (1 Corinthians 23-24). We cannot boast in our own knowledge or abilities (1 Corinthians 4:7; 5:6).

Neither can we dwell on the negative aspects of our life. We look above and beyond every issue to Jesus who is our wisdom and our joy (John 15:11). In order to live daily in God’s joy, we develop the habit of making Jesus the center of our focus.

Submitting to God’s Spirit as He crucifies our carnal humanity, we exalt Christ’s divinity within us (Galatians 2:20). Once we reach this place of dying to our self, our soul truly prospers (1 Corinthians 15:31; 3 John 1:2).

As we share in Christ’s peace and glory, we optimistically face our cross each day (Hebrews 12:2-3). We always totally depend upon, confide in and seek the Lord concerning all of our thoughts, feelings, instincts and leadings.

God teaches us to never rely on our own suspicions or perceptions. In everything we do, we are sure to identify the leading of God’s Spirit first, be acquainted with His Word about the issues or event, and submit our will to His (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Then, God can guide us and straighten out any uphill paths that may be in our way. We do not ever trust in our self or entertain an exalted opinion of our self (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Respecting the Lord, we walk away from anything that we sense is evil. Living by God's Word brings health to our body and nourishment to our bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).

When we choose the will of God over our own will and we grow steadily in our union with Christ, we grow more like Him with each passing day (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2).

Jesus is all we need (Colossians 3:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, You will receive all the glory for the creation, salvation and glorification of all the Saints on that glorious day when we all see You face to face. All we have to give You apart from what Christ works in our life, is all of our love, praise and glory that is due to Your name.

Our difficulties set the stage for Your miracles. The greater the miracle, the more impossible the solution, but with You all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Our plans often operate on impulses, resulting from our human reasoning; however, we are never quite able, apart from You, to come to understand the complete truth about life or to succeed in this world (2 Timothy 3:6-7).

Thought for the Day:
Deep thinkers, authors, mystics, scientists and poets all try to pinpoint the origin and meaning of life, but they reject the truth of God’s Word. They come up with theories, which they cannot prove, even by their own laws; yet, if we voluntarily humble our self and believe in and trust in God, we will find rest for our soul, and He will not need to humiliate us to bring us to the end of trusting in our self.