Monday, January 15, 2018

Life Gone Haywire

beach, boat, dawn

When we allow clutter to fill our life, everything goes haywire. A simplified, balanced life is much more peaceful, reassuring, fulfilling and comforting than a hectic one; but how do we get there?

We start with a searching inventory of our purposes, passions, possession and priorities. Then we pray about each one to make sure that we are following God's will in our life at this current moment in time.

Our heart will focus on what we treasure (Matthew 6:21). We will put all of our energy, resources, devotion, and the greatest portion of our schedule into surrounding our self with this treasure.

Once we surrender to Christ as our Savior and Lord, we daily make Him and His Kingdom our priority. He gradually becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We surrender to His plans for each moment of our day (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus suffered everything in His thirty-three years of life on this earth that we will ever experience in our lifetime. He is capable of feeling every ounce of our pain and understands the deprivation of our every unmet need.

God loves spending time with us, even if it is moments of companionable silence. We spend time with Him basking in our love for one another and growing in our intimacy and communication skills with Him. He is ready, willing and able to provide all of our needs with His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

Father God, our life gets out of balance once we depart from Your will for each moment of our day. We end us careening from one catastrophe to another, forfeiting our peace and having trouble finding any joy in our circumstances. Help us to learn to reject goals and "important" items that surface in our calendar and to do Your will for us instead.

Help us to seek Your advice before we start any task and to consult Your plans as we carry out the necessary components of those duties. With You at the center of our focus, we will not end up exasperated and disheartened, but we will flourish as overcomers and live in Your victory. Even through the most discouraging of circumstances, we will count it all joy in You (James 1:2-4).

Thought for the Day:
A busy life is not automatically a fruitful or fulfilling life, unless we are walking in the center of God's will; otherwise, we end up furiously spinning our wheels and going nowhere except deeper into the pit of depression and frustration.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Never Alone

Trees and Grass Field Under Cloudy Sky during Daytime

God's Word teaches us what to do when we encounter discouraging times. We rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) when our soul - our thoughts, feelings and perception about life - is full of trouble and darkness, when we feel like God has forgotten that we exist, and when God is disciplining us to return to the straight and narrow road.

Sometimes, we feel confined and restricted by our circumstances, drowning in the waves of adversity, tears flooding our eyes and no loved ones around to comfort us (Psalm 88; Numbers 26:9-11; 1 Chronicles 9:19-21). 

Our soul is empty of energy and resources, we are inadequate to meet the demands of our daily duties, and we are incapable of even faking a smile.

It helps to journal our prayers as we release our soul of these negative emotions, and as we turn to God for His ever-present comfort in our grief.

With a melancholy personality, I find it very easy to drift off into the mulligrubs! I used to struggle with depression, despair and gloom. However, since I turned eighteen years old - which is when I repented of my sins and asked Jesus to save me - I have to admit that I have never, ever felt hopeless again. We are never alone.

Even in the most negative circumstances of my life, my spirit held on to my lifeline, which is Christ in me (Galatians 2:20). Since God's Spirit healed me from the effects of the trauma in my past, I feel His love pouring over me like a waterfall.

Jesus suffered for thirty-three years on this sin-cursed earth (Hebrews 5:8).  He went to the cross to pay our debt and to give us His new life. Our God is caring and loving and quick to hear our cries.

He helps us to change our focus about our distress, and joyously guides us by His Spirit through every step of our life (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). If we humble our self and pray, He joyfully directs us through each moment of our day.

Father God, Your empathy, patience, compassion and comfort dispel our pain and anxiety (Romans 2:4). You never abandon us, and You tenderly and securely hold us in Your everlasting arms. You empower us to rise to any occasion by faith in Your presence within us, and You help us to share Your Agape love to those You bring into our life.

When the darkness surrounds us, Your light comes flooding in (Psalm 112:4-6). You lead us through the valley of the shadow of death, and we have no need to fear any issues that may come upon us (Psalm 23:4). Thank You for filling us with Your Spirit as You did the Saints in the early church, and for directing us in Your perfect will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
God's goodness follows us all the days of our life, and He showers us with His mercy and truth, which restores our soul and empowers our spirit to walk in His will every day of our life. - Psalm 23:3, 6

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Balancing Act

animal, animal photography, blur

We often feel that life is a tight wire that we must cross. The key to safely making our way to the other side is to keep a firm balance. This is easier said than done, however.

We end up teetering from one chore or activity to another, relying on our human resources to accomplish our goals for each day. Without balance we lack plain objectives, clear focus and true guidance.

Humanistic thinkers may develop a process to order their life, but they cannot foresee the pitfalls that life generally inflicts on all of us. Only authentic Believers can walk in the center of God's will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

God does not promote confusion, but does everything decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). To experience a schedule that is based on divine balance, His guidance is paramount while
 we are ordering our day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The first principle of a spiritual balance is to consult the Lord before doing anything or going any place. We start before we ever get out of bed. We metaphorically sit quietly at Jesus' feet and we worship Him for who He is and all that He does for us.

Then we seek His counsel for our first endeavor and follow it. We may need to reset our priorities, plans, goals and the obvious direction it takes to achieve them.

This way, we avoid confusion, stress and fatigue, because we function in His power and anointing. Our activities honor His plans and He gets all of the glory, instead of us.

Father God, we realize that peace and joy are the products of a life spent with You. Seeking Your sacred balance promotes serenity, productivity and wisdom. You give us Your direction for every element that we will experience during each particular day. You balance our heart and mind and lead us to follow Your personal will for each of us.

Remind us to hear Your direction for both our soul's inner and our body's outward balance. You have a perfect plan and purpose for our thoughts, feelings, preferences, choices and physical activities for each moment of every day. You gave us 24 hours in all 7 days of our week, and You know how to utilize that time in perfectly aligned segments and activities to bless us and to further Your Kingdom on the earth.

Thought for the Day:
The balance in our life will most likely change from day to day; that is why simply coming up with a way to balance our life our self is very ineffective, and God's direction each day is absolutely necessary for us to achieve maximum balance.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Good Marriage - Appreciating One Another

bridge, clouds, cloudy

As we intentionally find things about one another that we are grateful for, we can plan times of celebration to honor those qualities in each other.

This promotes good will and increases our love and appreciation for each other. It also helps us to look more for the positive and to quickly forgive an occasional oversight or moment of forgetfulness.

Thanking each other for agreeing to unite our lives in marriage, we remember why we chose to spend our life together. We made this decision, because we recognized qualities in one another that we could not live without. This helps us to realize that we really are the perfect mate for one another.

We start to find joy in our mate's idiosyncrasies and we appreciate their strengths that fortify our weaknesses. Noticing when our mate performs an unexpected duty that benefits both of us, we recognize that they just made our life easier.

Taking time to look at old photos, we cherish the memories that we made together, which are immortalized in each picture. We comprehend the importance of encouraging each other to follow God's call on our life together and as individuals.

Spending time together is of the utmost importance in building our unity as a couple. Gift cards are often given as gifts in our modern world. This allows the receiver to get exactly what they want, rather than what the giver guessed that they wanted.

If we give restaurant gift cards, they allow the receiver to use them on creative date nights, either for dine-in or for carry out to eat during a relaxing night at home.

Events in our local area are often offered with free admission. This may take a juggle in our work schedule in order to utilize free admission to a morning or afternoon event, but that is why "personal days" are provided. They give us breathing room to relax and enjoy our self and one another at unconventional times.

As we take the time to develop the attitude of gratefulness, we remember to show appreciation for the hard work we each do to keep our life financially solvent and running smoothly, even during the unexpected trials of life.

Father God, help us to show gratitude to our mate for supporting us in prayer during the difficult times in our marriage. Remind us to thank each other for allowing us to vent when our negative emotions overwhelmed us. Point out to us all of the little things our partner does for us every day to help us to enjoy the success we have in our life together.

Give us ideas to spend quality couple time together that will cement our commitment and increase our feelings of love. Remind us not to leave each other alone, but to include one another in our ministry, activities and goals, in order to give us time to chat and to understand each other better as we develop a deeper and closer relationship.

Thought for the Day:
We can frequently relish the memories we shared over the years and celebrate the unity we enjoy, when we dedicate our lives to making one another more successful and celebrated by those in the world around us.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hermits and Christians

Red Cluster Petal Flower Field during Sunset

Hermits do not survive as Christians. Gradually, God changes our behavior, attitude, social skills and perspective. We learn to trust in Him, rather than to attempt to rely on our human resources.

As a melancholy person, I used to be so reserved that I never spoke to strangers. I hesitated to share the Gospel of Christ with anyone, unless God opened the door so wide that I fell through it.

A childhood friend took his life a few days before I got to share with him the good news of the Gospel. The day before he died, God gave me the opportunity to tell him about the difference that Jesus made in my life; but we were both working, and in a hurry, so I did not take the time.

This traumatic event cured my shyness with other people. Now, through the Holy Spirit, I smile at everyone I see, and I never meet a stranger…only potential friends.

I also used to keep my personal business to myself. As my confidence in Christ grew, I became an open book; because I learned that others are going through the same trials that I am, and we can encourage one another.

God gave me His joy as my strength, as well as His vision of leading people to Christ and away from eternal damnation. Now, He constantly opens up new venues and possibilities for me to share the Gospel with my new potential friends.

God always comforts me from within in order to keep me from panicking. With a melancholy personality, I am easily overwhelmed; but His wisdom and comfort keep me resting in His peace and luxuriating in His joy.

Father God, You know that I used to dread suffering and difficult trails. You also know that I had little internal fortitude and disliked going without things that I needed. A new venture, or place to live, or group of people to get to know intimidated me. I fought depression constantly because of my melancholic personality.

By Your Spirit, You changed my pessimistic attitude, which haunted me throughout my whole young life. You gave me Your hope, and I learned to have faith in Your faithfulness. I am still not optimistic, but I am certainly hopeful because of Christ in me (Galatians 2:20). Thank You for redeeming me from a melancholy existence and bringing me into the peace and joy of Your forgiven children.

Thought for the Day:
Procrastination is another negative trait of an honest melancholic person; but God teaches us that the stress that comes with putting things off is detrimental to our health; and we need to prepare ahead of time, as His Spirit leads us, instead of waiting until the last moment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Knowing and Accepting Our True Inner Self

View of Elephant in Water

As a young teenager, I often wondered why I felt and thought and acted in certain ways. Then, in a Psychology course in college, I learned about the four personality types: Choleric, Melancholy, Phlegmatic and Sanguine.

Each one has certain characteristics inherent to that type of personality, and we are all one of these or a combination of two or more of them. This diversity makes the world go around in interesting patterns and interactions.

As one with a melancholy personality, I find myself quietly considering what goes on around me with reflection and prayer. I have no interest in participating in superficial conversations or activities.

Therefore, I listen more than I talk, and I do not join in conversations very often, unless the Holy Spirit reminds me of something that might benefit the hearers.

However, I am very interested in the people in my life. I deeply care about them and am always wanting to know what issues they have that I can lift up for them in prayer. I look deeply into a person's eyes - the windows of their soul, so that I can effectively express Agape love and concern for each individual.

I usually view decisions as black and white, but I have to remind myself that my view is not always the right way. Life's choices are full of the various hues of color, and this really appeals to the artistic side of my nature.

Sometimes I appear hard-hearted, because of my prophetic nature. People who label me as such do not really know the true me very well; because my heart is always like melted butter, and I actually feel another's pain in both my body and my soul. 

People look to me as a Pastor's wife to lead them and to take charge in ministries that are lacking leadership. However, my passive personality does not make for a good leader, and I am much more comfortable as a helper to those visionaries who need followers. 

I used to worry about the future, and about negative possibilities that I might reap due to my husband's actions and reactions. God healed me from this stressful characteristic, however, by teaching me to live in the moment and to let tomorrow worry about itself (Matthew 6:34).

I am always curious to discover the reason behind what it going on in the world abroad and in my own life. I turn these concerns into prayer, because I learned that I cannot control life and that God has everything under His divine care.

Father God, remind me to curb my natural inclination to speak into a person's life. Instead I need to offer advice only when someone asks me for it. Then, when I do speak, help me to convey the love and concern that I actually feel, instead of coming across as critical and distant.

Help me to overcome my natural inclination not to feel at home in a crowd and to prefer silence and solitude. Please use my penchant to be introspective, and to hang around on the outskirts of a gathering, in ways that will glorify You.

Thought for the Day:
Several years ago, I learned that every moment of our life is in God's capable hands, so we have nothing to worry about; instead, we can focus on loving others as Christ loved His church.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

An Honest Prayer Life

Close-up of Cactus

Negative emotions are red flags that signal us when there is an unresolved issue in our life. Frustrated responses, catty comments, unkind thoughts and behavior, pride and rebellion are only temporary actions, unless we feed them with Satan's lies.

Addressing each matter, we discover the root cause for each of our negative emotions, as well as God's solution to resolve the issues creating them. We take a fresh look at our circumstances until we discern God's will for us in them.

We develop the disciplines of taking inventory of the condition of our heart and the intimacy of our connection with Him. We follow the path of all of our negative emotions to find the root causing their interference in our life.

As we open our heart in honest communication with our Savior and Lord, His Spirit directs us to walk in God's ways of holiness and to be aware of His divine appointments for us.

God's grace releases our anxiety and stress, as well as gives us wisdom to adjust our thinking and to rejoice in His divine presence in our life. We strengthen our unity and ties with the Trinity, and our spirit is renewed and refreshed by His Spirit within us.

Father God, we come to You each day for our earthly needs and to receive Your wisdom as we walk in Your steps. We grow spiritually as we cling to Your presence within us and You create a renewed heart within our soul (Psalm 51:10). Over the years, we mature in our attitude and desires, we consult You in every decision we face, and we follow Your will for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Teach us to discern Your voice, to continually communicate with You, and help us to get to know You and Your ways more intimately. We praise You for who You are and we give You the praise and glory that is due to Your name. We look forward to our homecoming with You, so that we can enjoy the abundance of blessings, which You prepared for us.

Thought for the Day:
God answers all of our prayers according to His wisdom and for His glory; He is the same - yesterday, today and forever; His power is made strong in our weakness, and His grace is sufficient for all of our needs. 
- Hebrews 13:8; 2 Corinthians 12:9