Saturday, August 19, 2017

God Satisfies Our Soul

Body of Water at Daytime

Our whole being finds fulfillment only in the everlasting arms of our Lord God. His love is better than anything that life on this earth provides (Psalm 63:3); and we cannot help but lift up our hands in praise to Him as we glorify Him with our every thought, word and deed.

Through His salvation, He satisfies our soul and makes us secure in this sin-filled world (Psalm 23:3-4; 63:1-5). Our spirit is no longer dead in sin, but dances through life, alive in Christ forevermore. We bathe in His love, rest in His peace and sing because of His joy in us, as He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Our fellowship with Him is in perfect and complete harmony and unity due to His mercy, love and grace (1 John 4:19). We walk in His light and enjoy fellowship with His Body now and throughout eternity (1 John 1:7).

Clinging to our pride and rebellion, our addictions and our insecurities only brings us trouble and devastation; but surrendering all to Jesus gives us the faith and security to thrive in this war-torn world.

When we reach out to Jesus, turn away from our sinful lifestyle and submit to His authority in our life, we find satisfaction and healing in His love. God heals our pain associated with all of our relationships, even those filled with disappointment and trauma. 

He helps us to humble our self and to reconcile with those in our life that caused us pain. We forgive one another and bless each other with God's encouragement and love.

God's perfect love is what our soul longs for and that which heals our broken heart and drenches us like a waterfall in this discouraging and broken society. We live as sojourners and pilgrims until He is ready to take us home with Him for eternity.

Father God, You created us so that our eyes are the windows of our soul. We often answer glibly when someone asks us how we are, because we know they do not really have time to hear our honest answer, nor are most of them concerned with how we really feel. Help us to look into each other's eyes and to see the true feelings emanating from them, to take time to really listen, and to show concern and ask how we may help to improve each other's lot in this life.

Remind us that we have to start by taking a searching inventory of our self in order to understand exactly how we do feel. What does our spirit need to grow in Your grace? How is our body and soul - our thoughts and feelings, which affect our choices? You are patient with us, and Your kindness is everlasting. You love us beyond words. You strengthen us and shower us with so many blessings that those who know us stand in awe of You (Psalm 86:15).

Thought for the Day:
Our success in this dark and pain-filled life comes from trusting in God alone to help us to live victoriously over the evils present all around us; as we call on Him to empower us, so that we can keep a daily, vigilant watch over our body, soul and spirit; this enables us to live serenely in His everlasting arms.

Victory in Spiritual Warfare

Free stock photo of nature, field, flowers, grass

Spiritual warfare is a very real issue and continually goes on all around us. It all started when Satan rebelled against God and tricked Adam and Eve into giving him the dominion of the earth.

This warfare is not in the earthly realm, but in that which is not seen, except by the Spirit of God within us. That is why so much of God's Word warns us to keep watch and to be vigilant about the roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Satan wages war against the Saints of God. It is personal and it is in our face, even when we do not realize it. Satan loves to whispers lies to our soul - our mind and emotions; and he rejoices when we buy into them, and they affect our choices and relationships. Especially if we sell out on Jesus.

Our whole body, soul and spirit are effected by the pollution of the devil's lies; and we usually do not even know we believe them or that many of his fabrications are buried deep within our subconscious mind.

God gives us His Body to rely on, because two are always better than one. If one of us falls, the rest are alert and come by our side to help us up. When we add God's presence and Spirit into the union, we have a three-fold cord that is not easily broken.

God also gives us a supportive mate if we are wise enough to wait on His timing and way, and not to rush into a relationship or rebound from a former one into one that is much worse (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

The good news is that Christ in us is stronger than Satan and his dominion in the earth (1 John 4:4). Jesus gives us strength, wisdom and spiritual discernment; and He protects us from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

We reign victoriously over Satan influence in our life. Once we recognize his penchant for lies, we can resist them and walk in God's truth - unaffected by any demonic influence.

Father God, we are so amazed to realize that Your Body is worldwide. Authentic Believers of every tongue, nation and tribe are our spiritual brethren; and we will spend eternity with You and with one another. How privileged we are to be counted among Your Saints; that You know us and that we know You. Thank You for taking on a human form and dying in our place, so that we can live to serve You.

You satisfy us each new morning with your steadfast love, and we sing for joy because You chose us before the foundation of the world to dwell in You and for You to abide in us (Psalm 90:1). Let each of us in Your Body dwell together in unity and fulfill the ministry for which You called us; so that Your Body will not be maimed and halt by spiritual warfare, but whole, vibrant and a force to be reckoned with in the spiritual world (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

Thought for the Day:
The Trinity is our Creator, Savior, King and Guide, and we long for Him as a wanderer who is eagerly seeks out water in an arid, parched land. His love for us is better than life, and Christ is our whole life; therefore, we lift up our hands and sing with our lips in praise for His glory. - Psalm 63:1-5

Friday, August 18, 2017

Contentment with Godliness

Close Up Photo of Red Rose

Discontentment is reaching a world-wide plague in today's society. We are rarely satisfied with our self, each other, our church, our job, etc. We live with extreme stress most days in many areas of our life.

Yet, God Word exhorts us that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6-7). Learning to live in contentment is a difficult task for most people.

Some carry it too far and end up apathetic with little motivation or passion for life at all (Amos 6:1). However, striving for more possessions, a better job, a new home or car, etc. may cause contention between us and those in life about whom we should care the most.

Living at peace with everyone is sometimes hard to do, but it does bring a measure of contentment to our life (Romans 12:18). We cease from our carnal labors and enter into God's Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9).

The only striving the Bible suggests that we partake in is to “strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24), to “always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16), and to “strive together in prayers to God” (Rom 15:30).

If we "grab" or strive for more out of life, because of discontentment with what we have, God will withhold them from us. However, when we sit contentedly at His feet, ready to receive whatever He thinks is best for us, He gives us all good things to enjoy (James 1:17).

Father God, You promised to give us our daily bread and all that we need to survive in this natural world. You clothed the lilies of the field and the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26-34), and we thank You for providing for us just as richly. We trust in Your goodness and we marvel at Your abundant mercy and grace toward us.

We strive for unity with You each moment of the day and then we enter into Your rest and receive Your provision for us of every good thing that we need. We want to be led by Your Holy Spirit and to live in contentment, rather than to strive for more of this world.

Thought for the Day:
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him".
-1 Corinthians 2:9

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Good Marriage - A Softened Heart

Sunset over Snow Covered Mountains

Over the years of most marriages, the little foxes of neglect, abuse and broken promises mount up in our mind. They cause resentment, anger and bitterness. Then, bitterness defiles the whole relationship (Hebrews 12:15).

We harden our heart toward one another to prevent further hurt. We find more and more excuses to work longer hours, join one more club or get involved in one more civic or charitable event in order to avoid each other.

We ignore one another; we stop doing the little things that nurture our relationship; we answer each other in crisp, formal tones rather than with cherishing looks and words. We grow impatient with each other's idiosyncrasies and habits and mumble under our breath or start to disparage and nag each other.

The breakdown of our relationship actually started on our wedding day, or possibly during the wedding planning stage. We did not realize how hard marriage is - the blending of two lives, two sets of goals and expectations, and two needs for support and fulfillment.

It takes time and effort to open our individual schedules to include each other fulltime. We take each other for granted. We stop dating, we stop focusing our attention on one another, and we stop listening or caring about our spouse's needs.

When children come along, we neglect each other even more; we lose patience when the babies demand more of our spouse's time and attention than they give to us. We often disagree on disciplining methods and parenting styles.

A destination for the family vacation may also cause major disagreements, turmoil and disappointment. We may not enjoy spending time with our mate's parents, but are forced to spend every vacation with them or have them come visit and stay in our home for prolonged periods of time.

We forget that we are both human with limitations and physical and emotional needs. All is not hopeless, however; we can soften our heart toward each other and humbly apologize for our part in the stalemate between us. Then, we continue repairing our relationship by caring about one another again as we stop disdaining and losing patience with one another.

Father God, remind us to prefer one another and to make it our habit and goal to bless each other regardless of our feelings. The heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:-10), and it cannot be trusted. Help us to see love as an action, rather than as a feeling. Seeking You together is the only way to remedy this challenging chasm between us, caused by the wounds of our relationship.

Help us to make time in our busy schedules to communicate with each other. Teach us to honestly, but lovingly share our feelings and needs and to really listen to and care about one another. As we forgive and look past our differences, show us how to appreciate each other and to prefer one another. Remind us to connect with the person we fell in love with and to rekindle the spark that drew us together.

Thought for the Day:

God gave us to each other, with all of our differences, failings and shortcomings in order to find help for our weaknesses and support from one another's strengths. Our mate is His gift to us, and He reminds us that we are friends and not enemies; we can change our focus, let go of bitterness and appreciate and cherish each other.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Freedom in Forgiveness

Macro Shots of Water Drop Let

Forgiveness is one of the hardest practices humans employ; yet, it is one of the healthiest and freeing disciplines that we can utilize. If we do not forgive, then God cannot forgive us (Matthew 6:14).

We cannot control other people or the circumstances of our life, so unforgiveness simply feeds the negative emotions within us. This affects our body, soul and spirit. It pollutes our soul with resentment, bitterness and anger; dwarfs our spiritual maturity; and makes our body sick.

Unfortunately, bitterness will defile our whole life. It destroys marriages, affects our children and causes our body to succumb to every illness drifting through the air. It even influences our other thoughts, our body language and our physical and emotional attractiveness.

We feel that if we forgive the perpetrator, we free them from the debt they owe us for our pain; but if we continue to nurse unforgiveness towards the perpetrator, this somehow affects them. They are usually oblivious of their guilt and our feelings have no effect on them, but are detrimental to us.

Bible truth advises us that turning our woundedness over to God allows Him to avenge us (Romans 12:19). He is much more skilled at this then we are; so it just makes sense to surrender retribution and our pain to Him.

Forgiving our self is undoubtedly even more difficult than forgiving other people. We carry shame around with us and beat our self up with it each time we remember the incident.

So, how do we achieve the freedom that forgiveness carries with it? We can takes some time to analyze the situation. Are we blowing it out of proportion in our mind, do we honestly feel that they meant to hurt us with their words or behavior, did they maliciously attack us for no reason?

Having a civil and honest conversation with the person may actually resolve the conflict. Even if they do not respond contritely or if they escalate the problem by abusing us further, this will remove the root of bitterness in our soul caused by the former episode and we can more easily turn the matter over to God.

Father God, surrendering the incident and the pain to You will diminish the memory of it and give us more clarity of thought concerning the wounds we feel. Teach us that by conversing with our offender, we can make them more aware of how their words and actions make us feel and this may discourage them from repeating the behavior in the future. If they fall back into this wounding behavior, help us to erect boundaries that will help us not to take their behavior personally and will limit the amount of time we spend with them.

Jesus suffered similar events in His life and He always chose to forgive. Help us to follow His example of loving our enemies and blessing those who spitefully use us (Luke 6:28). Your opinion of us is far more important in our life than the words and actions of other people. You are our good, good Father, and You love us beyond words.

Thought for the Day:
It is easy to collect the negative emotions associated with grievances in our relationships; yet, forgiving frees us from the negative effects they would otherwise have on our relationship as well as on our own body, soul and spirit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Knowing and Loving God

abstract, background, beach

God created human beings to hunger for cherished relationships with each other and with Him. Intimacy is one of the key ingredients for this successful connection.

We can know about one another and about God in a superficial sense that does not involve romance or the heart. "Knowing" in its simplest form only involves a head knowledge.

In contrast, in the garden the first couple experienced a deep, close unity and fellowship with God and with one another. They enjoyed an unfathomable friendship, a kinship of belonging to God and each other.

As our Father God, our Bridegroom and our Good Shepherd, the Trinity cares for all of our intimacy needs. We trust God with our life and we look to Him to provide for all of our essential aspects of life.

As a couple, we experience a union of one flesh; as authentic Christians we enjoy a state of oneness with the Trinity that is similar to that which Jesus enjoyed with our Father and His Spirit.

Intimacy does not occur automatically. It takes focus, planning and purposeful time spent in each other's presence. We make the time in our busy life to spend quality time with both God and our spouse.

We even make space in our schedule for us and our spouse to spend time together with God. We share in times of being led by God's Spirit. We thrill at these special moments of intimacy with God both singly and as a couple.

We rejoice with each other as we experience divine appointments together and as individuals. We encourage one another to walk in the Spirit and not to rely on our flesh and human reason in making decisions and in our daily walk through life.

Rather than living by our human skill and superficial wisdom, we individually, and as a couple acknowledge God and seek His will for us in each moment of every day (Proverb 3:5-6). We love God with our whole body, soul and spirit.

Father God, remind us to spend large amounts of our time seeking more intimacy with You and getting to know You more deeply than ever before. Help us to make our time with You and our spouse as the focus of our purpose in life. We put our service in Your Kingdom, our career, our extended family, our vocation, our hobbies, etc. as lesser priorities when compared to spending quality time as Your child and as a spouse.

Help us to communicate to You and our spouse that we value our relationship with both of You as the most important relationships that we enjoy in this life. Teach us that when we get our priorities lined up with Your Word, we enjoy more serenity, success and fulfillment than we ever thought possible on this side of heaven.

Thought for the Day:
True Love is more of an action than a feeling; and as long as we have breath, we can serve one another and God with His agape, unconditional love.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

God in Our Heart Break and Disappointment

Blue and White Ocean during Day Time

When we trust in people, we invariably feel disappointed at one time or another. People are human and cannot meet our expectations all of the time, nor can they meet all of our needs.

At times, we even feel like God let us down. He allows an illness, a death, a separation, a heartbreak, etc., that we counted on Him to prevent. These issues traumatize and radically change our life, and we blame God.

These two truths cause us to build walls around our heart to prevent future hurt. We attempt to control life in order to keep more trauma from entering our sphere of the world.

This ends up thwarting God's ultimate plan for our life. We stubbornly dig in our heels and refuse to allow Him to budge us into the way, which He knows is in our best interest (Hebrews 4:15).

We live in a downward spiral, getting dizzier by the moment, because in our human understanding, we lack God's wisdom concerning our future. Yet, through our times of rebellion and protective maneuvering, God sees us and calls us to yoke up with Him (Genesis 16:13).

God encourages us to place all of our burdens on Him, because He really does deeply care about every facet of what we are facing each moment of every day; and to take His yoke upon us, which is light, rather than the yoke of our own making, which is heavy and overwhelming (1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 11:29).

God puts us in His Body to offer us companionship and encouragement during our times of trial (Hebrews 3:13). We point one another to Christ and His truth, exhorting each other to keep from wallowing in self-pity and self-centeredness.

We are never really alone in our suffering and trials. God abides in us and walks with us through every one of them - even those we cause by our attitude or behavior. He shines His light in our darkness (Ephesians 1:18).

Father God, remind us to give testimony of times when we forgave others for letting us down and You forgave us and showered our life with Your blessings (Matthew 6:14). Jesus is our divine example of forgiveness as He hung on Calvary's cross and looked down on His persecutors (Luke 23:34; Hebrews 12:3).

As we mature spiritually, we learn that the devil constantly seeks to devour Your Saints and to sidetrack us or derail us from following hard after You (1 Peter 5:8-9). Help us to see the need to walk circumspectly (Ephesians 5:15-20), alert and present in each moment of time, because of spiritual warfare that rages all around us (Daniel 10:13).

Thought for the Day:
When our burdens are overwhelming, and Satan is working overtime to discourage us, the encouragement and sympathy from our fellow members of Christ's Body will go a long way to affirm that "this too shall pass" and that we can persevere through the ability and power of Christ in us.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Philippians 4:13