Sunday, November 19, 2017

Anchor for our Soul

River Surrounded by Green Trees

At times our soul is grieved about issues in our life, is overwhelmed with the negative aspects piling up on us, or is anxious about some impending issue that makes us feel insecure.

The Psalmist gave us good advice to follow during times like these (Psalm 42:5-6). When we place our hope and trust in worldly anchors, we often find our self drifting once again in the currents of life.

Yet, if we put our hope in God, He is our rock, our strong anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19). He alone is our sure and steadfast hope. We sit in His presence and wait silently until He floods us with His peace and joy (Psalm 62:5).

Placing our hope in God never disappoints us, like the things of the world that we often cling to for our deliverance and salvation. He pours out His love into our hearts by His Spirit who resides within us (Romans 5:4-5).

There is real power in praising God through both the abundance and deprivation that we experience in life. He is with us and in us through the good times and the bad.

It may seem strange to praise God for the downturns in our fortune, health or relationships, but He has everything under His control according to His plans to bless us (Numbers 6:25; Romans 8:28).

The Lord is good. He turns misery into miracles for us, covering us with His feathers, offering to provide us with a stronghold and refuge if we will run to Him (Psalm 91:4; Nahum 1:7; Proverbs 18:10).

Father God, as we remember all that You already did for us in our life, we realize how trustworthy You are. You never interfere if we are determined to attempt to control our own life; but You are always faithful to us when we consult You every moment of our day, and when we are willing to abandon our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

You are our Savior and our God. You are the lover of our soul and we can trust in You for every need in our body, soul and spirit (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Psalm 63:1-8). We give You all of the praise, glory and honor due to Your name, because You are worthy of all of our praises, regardless of our circumstances.

Thought for the Day:
Our faith, love and hope in God are the only steadfast resources that we possess that we can rely on to see us through every trial and storm in life. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Finding Freedom in Surrender - Stages of Deliverance

Gazebo Against Trees

There is no way that our human psyche can surrender every area of our life to God in one fell swoop. It usually happens in stages, as God gives us faith to trust Him in each portion of our body, soul and spirit.

Surrender is often a struggle due to the fears, bonds, and connections we have with the various facets of the issues in our life. Desiring to keep our self safe, we attempt to solve our concerns in our own way.

We may get caught up with the advice and philosophy of the world, through articles that we read; but these often tend to sidetrack us from the real issues that we face. Only as we fully trust in God can we experience complete deliverance.

Fear of the unknown is a barrier to letting go and allowing God full reign in our life. At times we have to overcome Satan's lies or our insecurities first, in order to fully surrender to God's will and plan for our life.

I had to come to the place where I realized that I was simply surrendering to God's love, and nothing less. Surrender became easier as I realized that God would not bring anything into my life, or take anything away from my life that would hurt me eternally.

He has only our best interest at heart. He is not a cosmic ogre or a spoil sport or a vindictive and heartless being. Love is His sole motivation as He purges our life of detrimental and unhealthy aspects to which we cling.

When we experience firsthand the compensations that God showers on us during each stage of surrender, this encourages us to trust Him more and to yield more quickly and willingly to His will and provision.

We continually surrender until things of this world no longer matter to us, and we focus our thoughts and emotions on heavenly issues instead. We give up control of every facet of our life into God's safe keeping.

Father God, thank You for helping us to break down our resistance to Your loving direction and plans for our life one stage at a time. Some people are more willing and trusting and surrender earlier in life, but some of us cling to the allusion that we can protect our self and keep our self safe.

We are eternally grateful to You for proving Your love to us; not only by taking on human form and dying in our place, but also by coaxing us to surrender to Your wisdom one step at a time. We believe in You, but we depend on You to help our unbelief (Mark 9:23-25). We trust in You and we will not be afraid (Psalm 56:11).

Thought for the Day:
When we surrender to God, we give Him all of our fears and insecurities, and we gain His full provision and abundant love forevermore.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Where is Our Confidence

Our vulnerability is paramount in our thinking, and we strive to keep our self safe by every means we can muster. If our confidence is in our abilities and talents, we will suffer from fear and insecurity.

We feel anxious about our looks, accomplishments, success rate, relationships and vocation. We end up expecting too much from our self, and we set our self up for failure. This is no way to live; it leads to a dead-end existence.

We start the journey into improving our concept of our self-worth by taking small steps into recovery. First, we accept our self just as we are, because Jesus died to redeem us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Since He loved us first, we can love Him, others and our self (1 John 4:19).

We stop burying our short-comings in our subconscious mind, and we pay attention to who we are and how we feel during each moment of our day. We accept all of who we are - the good, the bad and the ugly. Accepting our insecurities and fears helps us to resolve them.

Make a list of the concerns and burdens in your life today. Spend time in prayer, surrendering each one to God. Put the list in a heart-shaped box, a symbol of the heart of God. Then, each time you encounter something from the list, remember that you already placed that issue in the heart of God, and thank Him for His faithfulness.

The next step is to pay attention to physical symptoms that may manifest in our body, along with our negative thoughts. We can change our focus from our insecurities and Satan's lies, to God's truth about each one of our issues. We make a list of these truths too and reread them often until they become an integral part of who we are.

Taking stock of how we are feeling and what we are thinking in each moment of our day helps us to deal with negative emotions and thoughts as they arise. When we realize that God is protecting, providing for and filling us with Himself in each moment, we can relax (Colossians 1:27).

If any thoughts or emotions rob us of our joy and peace, it is not God's will for us at this time. Accepting His will with joy, regardless of our circumstances, frees us to be who He created us to be, and allow us to walk in His will by His Spirit each moment of our day.

Father God, You make it clear in Your Word that if we focus on our fears and insecurities, our fight-flight instincts kick in and disrupt our peace, rob us of our joy, and cause us to strike out at anyone whom we perceive as a threat to us. Remind us that when we focus on Christ in us, we spend more time thinking about spiritual and eternal concepts rather than on any earthly concerns.

Teach us to surrender control to You, to stop striving in our human strength, and to relax and let You do the work of perfecting, healing and leading us. We honestly cry out to You, and You help us to relax and to rest in Your love and care for us. Help us to fully trust in Your goodness to us, and not to lean on our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).    

Thought for the Day:
Confidence comes not from what we do, but who we are. As authentic Believers in Jesus Christ, He lives within us; and we live, move and have our mental and emotional concept of who we are in Him alone.

- Acts 17:28

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Good Marriage - One Flesh

Adult and Cub Tiger on Snowfield Near Bare Trees

Today is our 22nd anniversary and we bought each other new glasses and ate at Dairy Queen. The point of an anniversary is to do something thoughtful and to spend time with each other.

This unhurried, quality time makes a huge difference in our feelings for one another and takes the pressure to perform or to buy expensive gifts or to eat at fancy restaurants out of the equation on special days.

God created Eve as a helper for Adam. Not someone to assist him with chores as he tended the garden, but someone to share his life with and to sincerely care about him.

Our Creator could have grabbed some dust to create Eve like He used to create Adam, but instead He took a rib from Adam to show the intimacy that they now shared (Genesis 2:7, 23).

I used to think that God played a huge trick on human beings, because opposites usually attract to one another, and these differences that drew us together often cause conflict in our marriage.

However, I have since learned that the Lord gave Adam a special gift in Eve, just as He directs us to our mate as His special gift to us. We each have strengths that compensate for one another's weaknesses. Life is better together than if we lived separately.

Of course, we can marry outside of God's will for us; but once we join as one flesh (Genesis 2:24), God will teach us to abide with each other in peace and harmony. If we are willing to submit to one another, and to discover and appreciate our differences, He will bless our union.

In a marriage, two individuals meld together as one flesh, humbling our self and submitting to each other as co-heirs to the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 4:21).

We bear with one another's faults and quickly forgive each other - not holding grudges or keeping a record of slights and imperfections (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13).

We no longer place our individual needs ahead of our union in Christ, and we learn to lovingly discuss ways to adapt to our differing needs, making a beautiful picture that fits neatly together as the pieces of a puzzle.

Father God, the devil hates Christian marriages and families. He knows that good marriages make strong churches, and he desires to disrupt a church family and cause rifts and strife among us. Bitter conflict arises in a couple, a family and a church family that appear to be unresolvable. Yet, there is always a way to work together in harmony, if we put You as the center of our focus.

Help us to stop any viscous downward spiral in our relationship, and teach us to discuss our differences until we discover a mutually acceptable action or manner of thinking that will solve the issue. Teach us to view one another as Your gift to our life, to protect our union, and to love one another in spite of our differences. 

Thought for the Day:
When God joins us together, two become one flesh, and we care for each other as we would like to be cared for and treat each other as we want to be treated.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Treading or Floating

clouds, conifer, daylight

Autoimmune issues have robbed me of so many physical functions over the last 40 years. I was not aware that I had this issue until after I turned sixty years old. At that time, I asked for prayer from our church pastors and deacons, and trusted God for the results.

Several months later, a man who also received prayer that same day, walked into my husband's office with a book for me. He used the advice in the book with soaring results and wanted to share the info with me.

I started the Autoimmune protocol from The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers, MD - through a detox diet and ridding my life of as many toxic chemicals as I can - some are in the air, and I have not yet figured out how to stop breathing outside air and still survive!

I am currently looking into getting rid of all metal fillings in my mouth, since they too are toxic. This is the only thing that I know about that still may be preventing my total remission, healing and recovery.

Recently, I lost my balance on the right side of my body. This issue has been increasing slowly over the last year, and finally I realized that I needed a cane to prevent any more falls due to this lack of balance.

I spent the next day storming Heaven for answers and wisdom. I told our heavenly Daddy, "Frankly, I am tired of treading water in this ocean of health issue." God's answer made me laugh as usual.

He said, "Well, that is good news. Since you are tired of treading, now you can float; and rest in my wisdom, love and care." So simple and yet so profound. He always has our best interest in mind.

As a "doer" it will take practice and effort for me to "Let Go and Let God" in yet another area of my life. I will keep you posted; but until then, if you need me, I will be floating through life. LOL.

Father God, thank You for yet another area of life where I can learn to trust You implicitly for the positive results that I need (Romans 8:28). I desire to continue as a viable member of our community, and I resist the devil and his ploys to physically stop me from serving You (James 4:7-11). I trust in You with all of my heart, and I refuse to rely on my human strength and understanding.

I will continue to consult with You in all of my activities, and I know that You are directing me along the path of Your will (Proverbs 3:5-6). You brought me to suppliers for organic meat and veggies in Florida and now in Illinois, and I know You will direct me to a functional doctor if You do not decide to heal my "gut" and immune system supernaturally by Your power and authority.

Thought for the Day:
There is no crisis that we can face that God does not see and have a plan for in our life; He ultimately uses them to perfect us, to open doors for us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as for Him to get the ultimate glory. 
- John 9:1-3

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Keeping Our Focus on Jesus

Free stock photo of landscape, holiday, vacation, water

When we honor and respect the Lord as King of all, He is a sure foundation for us and a rich storehouse of salvation, wisdom and knowledge. This treasure comes to us through our "fear" of the Lord (Isaiah 42:6).

I used to be a very negative, melancholy person, drowning in the depressing circumstances of my life. The intense dread I felt over the situations I encountered kept me living in a constant state of anxiety and tension.

I lived most of my time with my stomach in knots, taking very shallow breaths. The situations deepened so much at times, that I felt like I would burst if I held my breath a minute longer!

Then I read in God's Word how Jesus reacted to His trials, especially the way in which He faced His scourging, crucifixion and death on Calvary's cross by focusing on the glory awaiting Him in Heaven.

I realized that this same glory awaits all authentic Believers. I started to look for the hope hidden in all of my circumstances. I learned to trust God for positive results from every trial.

Jesus changed His focus from having to drink the cup of God's wrath to atone for the sins of the whole world, and his momentary loss of our Father's focus on Him, to His rightful place on the throne at the right hand of our Father.

Paul changed His focus and placed it squarely on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). He kept his mind on spiritual aspects rather than on earthly matters, in spite of his many trials and persecution.

We too can take our eyes off our earthly circumstances and put them on the joy that Jesus provides in the midst of each situation.

Father God, Your Word is truth and You sanctify us by it (John 17:17). We are heirs of Your promise (Ephesians 3:6). We find our rest in Your everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). Thank You for our salvation through Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16-18).

We praise You for giving us Jesus as both the fulfillment and the guarantee of Your covenant with us. We trust in You because You help us to walk in Your ways and to keep your statutes (Ezekiel 36:7), and You give us Your assurance by Your promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Thought for the Day:
If God does not show you how to change your circumstances, then ask Him to help you to change your focus about the dilemma, so that you can accept it as His will for you at this time.

Monday, November 13, 2017

We Cease from All Striving

There is a fine line between attaining and obtaining. We achieve a goal either by attaining it through hard work or by obtaining possession of it through no effort of our own (Hebrew 4:10).

For years I strove to keep all of God's commandments to the letter of the law. I wanted to please God and pay Him back for His sacrifice on the cross. I tried to attain Salvation by my own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Most religions require their followers to attain paradise through an uphill struggle throughout life. Christianity is just the opposite, however. I heard it said, “Christianity is the only religion where God came down to man.”

We are actually encouraged to cease from all striving as God did from His work on the seventh day. We trust God's wisdom and grace as He works in us to achieve the results, from the work, which He lead us to accomplish.

When Christ takes possession of our spirit, He gives us His rest for our soul – our mind, will and emotions. His righteousness, peace and joy give us a new life, which replaces our life of worry and deprivation (Romans 14:17).

We no longer seek to sanctify our self by crucifying our flesh or by our works for God (Galatians 3:1-3), but we accept the work of Christ on the cross for us, which gives us eternal salvation simply by our relationship with Him (John 17:3).

Father God, You provide all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). We live in ceaseless wonder at the sacrifice You made for us and at the heavenly home, which You provide for us, as we abide in You forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

By faith, we accept Your sacrifice on our behalf (Hebrews 7:22), and we submit to Your Spirit as You crucify the deeds of our flesh (Romans 15:16). We enter into Your rest and obtain Your righteousness as a free gift (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). We love You above all and give You all of the praise and glory due to Your name.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit transforms the lives He inhabits; so that we stop striving and obtain the gifts, which God has for us when we follow His lead each moment of the day.