Thursday, July 27, 2017

Borrowing Trouble

Green Mountains and Flowing River

Many times our biggest cause of anxiety and stress in our life is that we borrow trouble from tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). These are issues that may not even happen, but are simply the result of our overly active imagination.

We live in fear and frustration because our anticipation of what "may happen" dictates to our soul - our thoughts, feelings and choices. Satan interjects his lies into our mind, and we end up totally stressed out.

Nothing on earth is ever easy. From opening a child-proof bottle to making life-changing decisions, the answer or solution is often hard or even impossible to attain.

Spiritual battles are always occurring all around us (Ephesians 6). They are relentlessly sent by Satan to discourage and dishearten us - to cause us to give up, to sin or to hide under the blankets on our bed until our body gives up.

The truth is that God's plans and provision for us are always on time and just what we need. If we make an effort to look for the seeds for a miracle hidden in every trial, our faith increases.

God desires to draw us into an increasingly intimate relationship with Himself. He loves us so much that He took on the form of a human being and died a horrendous death in our place.

Disappointment will bombard us, until our trust in and perception of God's love increases (1 John 4:4). As we give Him more of our self with each passing day, Christ in us becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, we desire a deeper, continual infilling of Your Spirit into our body, soul and spirit. The more intimacy that we allow our self to develop with You, the less the trials of this life affect us. We walk in faith through those things, which we do not see; trusting that You are working out all things for our good (Romans 8:28). We desire to see You clearly and to joyfully walk through our lifetime without fear.

We pray that You will use us, just as You pre-ordained before we were ever born. Stop us from rushing headlong into some ministry or good work in Your name; and instead teach us to follow Your Spirit in every aspect of our life - even as simple as what we eat and drink (Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Thought for the Day:
Walking in the Spirit gets easier as we listen for His still, small voice, follow His peace in our heart, and obey His promptings -even if they do not make any human sense at all.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God Fulfills Us

Free stock photo of flowers, colorful, colourful, plants



Complete fulfillment cannot come to us through a person, place, pet, event or thing. Total, satisfying fulfillment comes only from God.

The reason for this is that God created us as a triune being, just as He is triune. God is Father, Son and Spirit. We are body, spirit and soul - our feelings, thoughts and choices. No one person can satisfy all of these aspects for us, because they are not capable.

Many people will tire of their mate after an extended period of marriage. The work to keep the relationship fresh is too much of a burden. We get bored with each other, wounded by our mate's behavior, or tired of being neglected, ignored or taken for granted.

We find someone else who actually appreciates us and enjoys spending time with us, and we are ready to jump ship. The problem with this action is that in a short time, we will feel the same way about this new person that we felt about our former mate.

We will even miss things about our former mate that this new person fails to fulfill in us. Some people change mates constantly looking for the "one" who is their perfect soul mate. This will never happen.

The reason this is impossible is that we are all human, and our real hunger is spiritual and divine. We can get close by choosing a compatible mate, but only Jesus fulfills every aspect of our being (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible).

Humans crave to give and receive love and respect on a deep level in our soul and spirit. This is too tall of an order for any one person to supply for us; but Jesus is our perfect lover (Isaiah 54:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

Prayer:
Father God, we have a deep need for love and affirmation - an ache caused by loneliness, fear, depression and shame from the past. We find our completion with peace, love, joy and security only under the shelter of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). Remind us not to despise the mate that You gave us and not to forsake them when our soul is sick and searching for fulfillment that can only come through You.

Help us to realize that the wounds from our past will prevent us from finding satisfaction in anyone other than Jesus. Keep us from rebounding from one relationship to another in an attempt to find the perfect person that will complete us. This unhealthy practice only serves to damage us all the more and to drive the pain of the past deeper into our subconscious mind. Help us to stay pure and to walk in Your holiness.

Thought for the Day:
When we live our life attempting to fill our emotional needs through people, places, events, pets or things, we prolong our hunger for love and acceptance and end up spinning our wheels; yet, when we go to God for our fulfillment, He fills our entire being with all of His fullness. 
- Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We Live in Hope

 


Most people in today's society walk around in the dark, but they do not know it. They do not fear the Lord, obey His voice, trust in His name or rely on Him (Isaiah 50:10).

They face life without hope, living with uncertainty and a heavy load of care. They are not experiencing the conscious blessings of the Lord in their life.

Authentic Believers have these same trials and adversity; yet, we do not live without hope, and we walk in the Light, even as Jesus is in the light and is the Light of the world (1 John 1:5-7).

Walking in the Truth of God's Word, we follow His Spirit's direction each moment of the day, even if we are experiencing darkness all around us.

We walk by faith, not by sight - in Biblical discernment rather than our human knowledge and feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7). The peace and joy of the Lord reign supreme in our soul and calms the troubled thoughts and emotions within us. 

Jesus is God's Son, His Word; and He is God who came to dwell among us on this earth (John 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:7). His sinless perfection abides within us and stirs us to love and good works (Hebrews 10:23-25).

As a human being, He learned obedience to God through the things that He suffered (Hebrews 4:15). As God, He had the power to resurrect all of us from spiritual death (Hebrews 7:25).

He now abides within us as our brother, future husband, co-heir to God's Kingdom and friend (John 15:13-15). He always knows and understands exactly how we feel and what we are experiencing in this sin-cursed world.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us Your Spirit, who brings to us the reality of the revelation of our relationship with You. He will guide us into all truth and perfect us with the mind and nature of Christ. He also comforts us during times of distress and leads us each moment of every day to walk in the works, which You have called us to perform.

Use us as a magnifying glass to amplify You to the world around us. Make us examples of Christ and help us to live as examples of His gospel story as He lives within us. We dedicate our life to You as holy vessels of honor, and we choose to follow You all the days of our life.

Thought for the Day:
The love of Christ within us enables us to live in hope and to shed the bonds of discouragement, which attempt to rob us of the love, peace and joy of our Lord.


Monday, July 24, 2017

The Way of Holiness

Close-up of Water Drops on Rainy Day



Righteous living is the fruit of a heart set on living in holiness before God (Matthew 5:6). Our spirit vitally needs holiness for our fulfillment. An authentic Believer shrinks from carnal behavior, which our soul - our mind, will and emotions - often pursues.

If we foolishly attempt to perfect our self, we are counterproductive (Galatians 3:1-3). We live a legalistic, carnal, unnurturing, critical and condemning life, which keeps us in the constant state of shame and disappointment. 

However, through God's work of regeneration through salvation, and His sanctification process, His Spirit conforms our soul into the purity and the divinity of Christ Jesus, our Lord (Ephesians 2:8-9; Matthew 5:8).

God's light within us shines out into the world (Matthew 5:16; 1 John 1:7). Through His mercy and grace we perform the works of God, which He planned specifically for us before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

We walk in the Spirit and no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh, the world or the devil (Galatians 5:15-25; 1 John 2:1). We serve the Lord with gladness and we run and are not weary (Psalm 100:2; Isaiah 40:31).

We are zealous for the priorities which God places in our heart and there is no rival for our affections between earthly and spiritual ideals and activities. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

God heals us and brings unity with His Spirit and among our body, soul and spirit (3 John 1:2). We live in wholeness, and lose the fragmented feeling that robs us of our peace and joy.

Prayer:
Father God, Your grace in our spirit perfects our soul until we walk in Your Son's righteousness that He exchanged for our sin on Calvary's cross. We still have the same personality, but Your Spirit transforms the negative aspects with Your fruit.

We throw all of our cares on Your capable shoulders and yoke up with You so that You can help us to carry our burdens in life. We trust You with our health, wealth and spiritual success in this life, including our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, church family, neighbors and associates. You are worthy of all of our trust and praise.

Thought for the Day:
Holiness is not only achievable, it is also the normal state of existence for the authentic Christian; we simply die daily to the seeds of sin that take root in our heart and pluck them up before they can grow into a plant, flower and then bear fruit.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Witness of God's Spirit

River Surrounded by Green Trees


If sin still appeals to our flesh, we have not made the decision to totally convert to God's way of thinking. We want to retain part of our carnality for a variety of reasons, which all lead to opening the door of our life to Satan's destructive forces.

Why would we do that to our self? Simply because we have not tasted of the fullness of Christ that is possible for every authentic Believer.

There are moments in our life where God's Spirit convicts us of sin. How we respond to these defining moments make a huge difference in our spiritual maturity.

If we continue in sin, we forfeit God's forgiveness, grieve the Holy Spirit and remain spiritual pygmies in the sight of God. Also, we may be clinging to unforgiveness toward someone, or we may be nurturing resentment for wrongs done to us.

Once we realized that we walked in depravity and gave more worship to the creature rather than the creator (Roman 1:25), and once we fully experience the fullness of God's forgiveness for us, we are able to forgive others.

We feel God's love flowing over us like a waterfall and we share that love with those God plants in our life. His love for us inspires us to fulfill His calling and purpose on our life.

We rejoice in the God of our salvation (Habakkuk 3:18) and we intercede for those God brings to our mind. We prayer walk through our neighborhood and lift up our neighbors to God to execute His regenerating work in their life.

We share a smile, an act of kindness, an encouraging word, or we meet a financial need in someone's life in the name of Jesus (Matthew 10:42). We "share the gospel at all times, and only if it is necessary do we use words."

Prayer:
Father God, once we experience the witness of Christ's Spirit abiding in us; we realize that we want a more intimate daily relationship with You. We spend our days praising, adoring and thanking You for Your mercy and provision for us.

You transform our soul through Your sanctifying process and we live to honor You and to perform Your will for our life, rather than our will. Christ is our whole life, and we no longer care about nor are we tempted by the draw of our flesh, this world or the devil; but we long to give You the glory due to Your name through our thoughts, words and actions.

Thought for the Day:
Once we choose to trust God completely with our life, accept His forgiveness for our sins, decide not to make provision for our flesh anymore and to forgive those who despitefully used us (Luke 6:28), we enter a deeper walk with the Lord.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Rest of God

Body of Water Near Brown Soil Under Blue Sky during Sunset


God makes us lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23:2). It is hard to eat when we are lying down, so this verse puzzled me. Recently, I heard this verse from the IC Bible, "He makes me rest in green pastures."

Resting makes more sense to me…we are not eating, we are luxuriating in the green fields of a thick carpet of grass. Resting restores our soul (Psalm 23:3). Lying flat during the day, even for 10 or 15 minutes, is therapeutic to our body; chilling out also gives our soul a time of rest.

Resting is a daily requirement in order to maintain a peaceful existence through the trials of life. Stress will damage or even kill our body; rest strengthens and restores us in body, spirit and soul - our mind, will and emotions (3 John 1:2).

Stress makes us grouchy, touchy and even angry. Satan uses stress to injure us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and to ruin our testimony before others of the love of God for us all.

God's rest replaces our internal "batteries". We have more energy to overcome life's threats and to perform those works, which God created for us to perform, before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

As we mature in the Lord, we make time to spend segments of rest in His presence and to focus our entire being on Him (Psalm 46:10). We bless Him for who He is and for His abundant love for us.

This time can be just a few moments or an extended period. Then, we abide in God's rest as His Spirit directs the remainder of our day; as we follow along with His plans instead of our own.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we are Your Temple - a dwelling place made without human hands. Show us areas of our life where we are failing You, and give us Your wisdom to redirect our energies into Your pursuits rather than into our own. As we wait on You, we often discover that much of what we desire to accomplish comes from Your Holy Spirit, but is misguided by the flesh, the world and the devil.

Help us not to give Satan a foothold into our life by allowing his thoughts to infiltrate our soul - our thoughts, decisions and emotions. We do not want to unwittingly open a door into our soul for him to take advantage of us and to destroy our witness for You. Reveal his lies to us so that we can combat them with Your Truth.   

Thought for the Day:
Once we learn to abide in God's rest, rather than pursuing meaningless activities in life, we find our self living powerfully in the center of God's will.


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Accuser

Red Purple and Yellow Tulip Fields

God gives every created being a choice, and Satan chose to revolt. When Satan rebelled against God, he was cast from the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16).

God knew that Satan would want more than his exalted position as an archangel; therefore, He provided Jesus, before the foundation of the world, to be our sacrificial lamb and die in our place (Revelation 13:8).

In the Garden of Eden, Satan successfully played his hand against Adam and won authority over this earthly realm. Now, he reigns supreme; but only as he is given permission by God (Job 1:6-7).

The devil roams the earth seeking those as gullible as Adam and Eve - those willing to buy into his lies and destruction (1 Peter 5:8). His whole purpose is to accuse and prosecute the righteous before God (Revelation 12:9-10).

He attempts to keep us in bondage to His temptations and lies, and to cause us to make lethal decisions concerning our time and our energy. Thankfully, God did not leave us defenseless.

He gave us His Son Jesus Christ as our advocate, our High Priest who defends and protects us from Satan's wiles and his fiery darts of accusation and temptation.

Christ in us is greater than Satan and his mighty army of demons. Jesus gives us victory over any power and influence that Satan exhibits toward us (Revelation 12:11).

We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:31-39). None of Satan's accusations are valid when compared to the blood of our unblemished sacrificial Lamb.

God provides us with His Spirit and power to share the love of Christ with the dying world around us (Acts 1:8). We never meet a stranger, but simply a potential friend and fellow member of the Body of Christ (Revelation 12:13-17).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us an advocate and for protecting us from Satan's destruction. Your discipline is painful for the moment, but bears for us the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Isaiah 32:17). Help us to live as testimonies for the love and care You give to us every moment of every day (Matthew 10:39).

Let our light so shine that others will see Your works in us and through us and to give You the glory (Matthew 5:16). Lead us in level paths because of our enemies, which attempt to derail us from Your will for our life (Psalm 27:11). Thank You for preparing a feast for us in the presence of our enemies and for taking away from us the shame of Satan's accusations and replacing them with the fruit of Your righteousness (Philippians 1:11).

Thought for the Day:
Humanistic morality may prevent us from the affliction of a jail sentence, but only believing in Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary's cross and trusting our life to Him will keep us from spending eternity in the agony of hell.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Victory in Trials

Brown Grass Close Up Photography

Without the aid of God's Holy Spirit in our life, we often drown in negative emotions and fail to experience victory over our trials (John 15:5). We suffer with overwhelming feelings of failure, depression, anger, etc.

With the Trinity of God dwelling in our spirit, we are more than conquerors and can experience victory in every trial. God's power flows through us and from us as He changes our world all around us, causing us to rejoice in Him as the God of our salvation.

He meets our needs with abundance, showers us with His blessings, rejoices over us with singing and looks forward to our homecoming to heaven (Romans 8:37; Zachariah 3:17; James 1:12).

Jesus is our great High Priest, who is our advocate with our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:14-16). He experienced the hardships of life in the same negative intensity that we often do, yet He never sinned (Philippians 3:10).

Our Savior voluntarily left His home in the glories of Heaven to bring us salvation from every negative aspect of life. He softens the blow for us when trials, persecution, rejection, abandonment, homelessness, fickle friends, etc. invade our serenity.

He walks through trials with us and provides us with His power, mercy, grace, love, peace and joy in order to give us the strength to face anything which life, the world, our own flesh, and the devil throw at us.

Jesus teaches us to be led continually by His presence in us and by the direction of His Holy Spirit. We trust in Him and allow Him to work in and through us each moment of our day. When God directs our efforts, we accomplish much more than we ever thought possible.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Your presence in us gives us an abundant, fulfilled life here on this earth. Remind us to use each new day to make a difference in our world, as we win lost sinners to Your saving grace. We can never thank You enough for keeping us safe in life's storms and for guaranteeing our place with You in eternity.

Thank You for sending Jesus to die on Calvary's cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins and to offer the whole world redemption through His resurrection and abiding presence in our life. We rejoice in the fact that His selfless sacrifice guarantees us a place in Your Kingdom to enjoy Your blessings throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus gives authentic Believers the opportunity to be one with Him in perfect love and acceptance, apart from any good deeds, pious performances or imposed restrictions, which come from self-effort or living up to the standards and expectations of other people.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Good Marriage - Fail-proofing Our Marriage

Free stock photo of nature, purple, petals, plant

Some spouses allow the devil to addict them to certain sins. This opens the door for Satan to plant a whole host of demons into their life. They become abusive, unreasonable and make poor choices that affect our life as well as theirs.

A separation for a period of reconciliation is often helpful in times like these to keep us safe, to give us a cooling off period and to get counseling together to hopefully reunite us as a couple.

However, when the spouse will not change his/her behavior, receive counseling or take needed medication to supply their body with chemicals that it no longer produces, this complicates the relationship.

Paul discussed this issue when he recommended that it is better to live as a single person, except in the incidence where human passions demand the parameters of marriage, or where immorality gives a person grounds for divorce.

Most authentic Believers desire to improve their marriage. Some people read incessantly from books, articles and blogs suggesting ways to improve their marriage. God will use us to bless one another on a daily basis.

God's Spirit also helps us to see the positive aspects in our spouse - even in the midst of his/her irritating quirks and disappointments. We live with an open mind to God's will, and we appreciate our spouse's positive traits and cherish their existence in our life.

We can pray together to help each other to heal and to receive counseling for unresolved issues from our past; or from current issues that we caused by our own words, decisions and behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, a three-fold chord is not easily broken, and as we stay intimately connected to You and to our spouse on a daily basis, we strengthen and fail proof our marriage. As we bring our relationship to You, we discover strength and wisdom from Your Spirit to deal with every day's controversies and trials.

We stand before You as little children, with faith and trust that You will supply us with everything that we need to maintain our friendship and love for one another throughout our lifetime. Lead us by Your Spirit and help us to bless our spouse with the fruit of Your Spirit within us as we heal from past trauma and repent of current sins which cause stress in our relationship.

Thought for the Day:

Deep wounds from the past, some of which are buried in our subconscious mind, may hinder us from being the spouse God calls us to be; God is willing and able to show us those wounds, heal them and to give us a new perspective on life and our marriage. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

God's Truth

Free stock photo of nature, petals, plant, spring



As human beings we depend too much on the approval, attention, appreciation, affirmation and affection of other human beings. Then we get disappointed and disillusioned when we do not receive that desired thoughtfulness from others.

As authentic Believers, we know that God lives within us and is our only true, constant and consistent source of comfort, care, concern and correction. He delights in bringing us into His truth.

As we use our prayer journal to examine the angering, aggravating, agonizing, annoying and awful circumstances we are experiencing, we write down how these issues are wounding our body, soul and spirit.

God's Spirit gives us wisdom to recognize these matters and the courage to face them head-on in order to discover His Truth about each one of them.

As we examine each issue, we discover if our perception of the matter is accurate, or a product of lies told to us by our flesh, the world of the devil.

At times our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being is compromised by our beliefs concerning certain matters we are facing. As the Serenity Prayer suggests, if we cannot change the issue, we can leave it to God to work out in His own timing and way.

We cannot change the behavior or thinking of someone else, but we can alter our perspective and beliefs. This will transform our thoughts and behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit gives us the mind of Christ through ever increasing stages of Your glory as He frees us from the tyranny of our insecurities, fears and wounds from our past. Help us to brutally attack the lies which hold us in bondage and which keep us from serving You in the fullness of Your Spirit.

Embracing the past and fearlessly facing our future with the confidence that You inspire in our soul and spirit help us to freely and fully live each moment of time, while we enjoy the fact that You are enabling us to victoriously experience each second of time. Help us also to let go of our penchant to abuse our self for the sake of others and to walk outside of Your will for us because of a codependent focus.

Thought for the Day:
Christ in us enables us to more readily forgive our self and others. Forgiveness and gratitude are key ingredients to a peaceful life. When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. - John 8:36


Monday, July 17, 2017

Oh Happy Day

Pink Petaled Flower during Daytime

Unconfessed sin, rebellion, pride and grieving the Holy Spirit with our thoughts, words and deeds will quench the flow of His peace and joy. If we pursue our own agenda, we often forfeit the joy of the Lord in our life, because we are pursuing the flesh, the world and the devil. 

Yet, as we change our focus to God alone, our joy rises with each new morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). As we abide in His presence, God fills us with indescribable and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:9; Psalm 16:11).

Our greatest joy comes from our salvation (Psalm 51:12). This is something that no one and nothing can take away from us. It is a free gift from God for anyone willing to receive it (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).


Rather than to feel guilt, anger or unforgiveness over the past, or fear of the future, we will thrive as we live in the moment. We enter the joy of the Lord, which supersedes all of life's carnal blessings (Matthew 25:21; Isaiah 56:7; Samuel 1:18).

Focusing on some else's idiosyncrasies can rob us of our joy. If we remember that we have a log in our eye (Matthew 7:5), we can accept others just as they are without trying to change them.

Acceptance removes much of the frustration, resentment, anger and powerlessness from our attitude about these people and restores our serenity. We realize that we are only responsible for our own obedience to God.

When I think my life is lacking in some important ingredient, I remember that no matter what life throws at us, Christ in us is greater in every aspect (Habakkuk 3:17-18). By changing our focus, we change our attitude, and we receive God's abundant provision in our life.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that You did not die and leave us in charge. You are still on Your throne and You have plans for each individual on earth. If we attempt to codependently fix the world around us, we use valuable resources that You gave to us for a specific purpose.

Help us to walk in Your ways and to follow Your will for our own life. This will prevent us from rejecting other people and allow us to be more affirming of their choices. Help us to accept our self with all of our inadequacies and remind us that we can do all things that You call us to do through Your strength within us.

Thought for the Day:
When someone else's behavior or choices affect our life, we can insist that they consider our opinions, beliefs and feelings about the situation first; if they are unwilling to include us, we let them make their decisions and then we can make our own decisions as we walk in the joy of the Lord.



Sunday, July 16, 2017

The God of Peace

White and Brown Animals Near Fence


As authentic Believers, we are called to peace as members of Jesus' Body. We make every effort to live in peace with one another in spite of the circumstances that come our way.

We encourage each other to walk in holiness, so that we will spend eternity with God and one another (Hebrews 12:14). We turn from evil and do good, and the peace of God comforts our heart (1 Peter 3:11).

We do not repay evil for evil, but we do good to everyone, regardless of how much they hurt us, speak evil about us or attempt to derail our success in this world (1 Thessalonians 5:15; Psalm 34:14).

God's peace also rules in our heart when we walk in His ways and we live in gratitude to Him (Colossians 3:15). He takes pleasure in our godliness and makes even our enemies live in peace with us (Proverbs 16:7).

His strength and peace lead us through our day as we follow His will for each step we take (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 29:11). He calls us to live in peace with everyone, especially when this peace depends on us (Romans 12:18; Romans 14:19; 1 Peter 3:9-11).

Prayer:
Father God, you did not send Jesus to bring peace into the world, but to shake up the natural order of things and to unite us with Your Body (Matthew 10:34-36). You call us to live blamelessly and uprightly so that we can live in Your peace all the days of our life (Psalm 37:37).

Help us to listen to Your Truth and to avoid the folly of the flesh, the world and the devil, so that we can live in Your abundant peace (Psalm 85:8). Remind us to avoid repaying evil with evil, but to feed our hungry enemies and to do good to them; so they will be convicted of their wrong doing and we will win a friend.

Thought for the Day:
Those who sow in peace will reap the righteousness of God in their life; and if we love God's law, nothing will make us stumble as we abide in His great peace, love and joy.
- James 3:18; Psalm 119:165


Friday, July 14, 2017

Grace in Time of Need

Free stock photo of nature, bird, animal, beak


Have you ever been stuck in an elevator, buried alive, locked in a bathroom or closet, stuck in a car during an accident, caught in a dead-end job or relationship, paralyzed or bed-ridden, trapped in a room on fire, restricted or tied up by another person, physically abused, or restrained from movement in some other way?

I have; and the helpless feeling is unbelievably horrific. After this/these experiences, we never want to trust life again. We want to live in an indestructible bubble and roll through life unhindered.

Unfortunately, life does not roll like this. Jesus promises that due to sin in this world, we are guaranteed to suffer persecution and trials. The Biblical authors advise us to count tribulation as a joyous occasion; but this is not the normal human response.

Instead, we fight to stay safe, to escape these traps, to shorten our exposure to danger, to quickly resolve this harrowing experience and to make it possible for life to return to balance and normalcy as quickly as possible.

After an experience where we are hindered in some way, we devise a fail-proof plan to keep us safe and free from helplessness. We use every ounce of our human wisdom and resources to make this possible and for our plan to succeed.

Yet, life happens. Danger and destruction abound all around us. People say that unfortunate experiences come in threes. Many of us turn cynical and critical and are control-freaks due to life's disappointments; but these techniques rarely keep us any safer.

Calling on the name of the Lord, repenting of our sins, surrendering our life to God's control and submitting to the direction of His Holy Spirit moment by moment throughout the day is the only way we can live in a semblance of peace and joy in this world. God gives us His grace in our times of need.

Prayer:
Father God, we cast all of our anxiety on You (1 Peter 5:7). You are our peace; You have broken down every wall (Ephesians 2:14); we walk in the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We approach You confidently, because You give us Your grace and mercy in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). We sing of Your mercies forever (Psalm 89:1).

Your peace guards our heart and mind, and we rise above our human understanding through every ordeal we face (Philippians 4:7). When we promote peace with our thoughts, words and actions, You give us Your joy along with it (Proverbs 12:20). Take pleasure in us, and make everyone, even our enemies, to live in peace with us (Proverbs 16:17).

Thought for the Day:
We do not attempt to ignore or to deny the bad times, but we rejoice in the Lord who walks with us and in us through each one of them.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Joy of the Lord

Free stock photo of nature, sunset, forest, trees

Joy in our heart rises from the sense of God's love and favor for us as His children. God's comforts delight our soul (Psalm 94:19). We are safe in His everlasting arms.

The more we trust God for protection, provision and productivity, the more He blesses us with His presence (Proverbs 3:5-6). He wants us to trust Him from the start of our quest, not as a last resort.

Even when life causes us sorrow, we always find our joy in the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:10). God strengthens our soul with His might (Psalm 138:3; Psalm 23:5). In His right hand are eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11).

When we abide in His presence, we experience abundant joy. He teaches us what to say and when to say it (Proverbs 15:23). When life overwhelms us and sucks the life right out of our bones, His joy in our heart heals us in body, soul and spirit (Proverbs 17:22).

Even if we walk away from God for a short season and live our own way, we will always return to Him. He puts a song in our heart and gives us His everlasting joy as a crown on our head (Isaiah 35:10).

Gladness and joy fill us with hope and reduce the overwhelming feelings of doom that this world pummels us with. Our sighing and depression flee away from us in the light of His presence in our life.

As we traverse through life, it seems that the mountains and hills join us in praising God; even the tree limbs clank together in the wind to add to the symphony of praise in our heart. God's joy fills our life and He leads us by His peace (Isaiah 5:12).

Prayer:
Father God, Your joy exceeds everything this world has to offer. We are thrilled at the birth of our children and grandchildren, happy with a brand new car, are proud of our promotion at work, enthused about decorating our newly built home; but nothing compares to Your abundant joy.

We reverence, honor and cherish Your presence in our life; and we give you all of the praise and the glory due to Your name. You are our delight and pleasure and we find our joy in the center of Your will for our life (Psalm 43:4). You give to us the fullest measure of Your joy, because You dwell within us (John 17:13).

Thought for the Day:
When we grieve over the loss and fear of the dire circumstances staring us in the face, God's love, which pours over us like a waterfall, gives us a reason to rejoice that is so deeply implanted in our heart that no one and nothing can take it away. - John 16:22


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The True Reality of Life

Free stock photo of wood, dawn, landscape, nature

God created the heavens and the earth with His spoken Word (Genesis; Romans 1:20), and gave us all the good things on this earth to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

God's beauty and glory surround us on every side. Human beings are perhaps His most amazing creation. Our body is intimately woven together in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).

Our body is designed to work in cooperation with nature for our guaranteed, healthy survival until God brings us home to heaven (Psalm 116:15).

It is our genetically modified diet and processed foods, which introduce harmful chemicals into our body and bring about major health issues that we could avoid by eating fresh, organically grown meat, fruit and vegetables.

In our modern world we have so many advances in the areas of technology, natural healing supplements, and functional medicine, as well as our personal gifts and talents.

It is time to get back to the basics as our forefather's did. We can also use these carnal aspects of life on the earth to enhance our spiritual growth and well-being by living for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

We have no need to attempt to strive to incorporate perfection into our life, because it is God who gives us both the desire and ability to walk in our salvation (Philippians 2:12-13).

God created us as a Triune Being - with a body, spirit and soul - thoughts, feelings and choices. Each of these three entities are dependent on one another to bring us a fulfilled life (3 John 1:2).

Prayer:
Father God, You designed our five senses to allow us to interact with the natural world into which You chose for us to live. We are born with a spirit that is dead in sin due to Adam's rebellion, but You also gave us the second Adam - Your Son Jesus Christ - to bring us regeneration in our spirit when He paid for our sin debt. Help us to live to promote Your Kingdom on this earth.

The true reality of life is not what we can see, but the invisible and intangible aspects that we walk in by Your Spirit (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 6:17). Free us from our petty pursuits of religious works and vocational competition, and help us to realize that Your desire is that we function in Your calling for us by allowing Your Spirit, gifts and character to flow through us (Ephesians 1:9).

Thought for the Day:

God gave each of us gifts, not so that we could use them, but so that He can use them through us; this allows us to do all things through the strength and energy with which He supplies us. - 1 Peter 4:10-11 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Overwhelmed No More

Red and Pin Rosebuds

We humans often carry around a high and inflated opinion of our self. We feel that we have our life in balance and under our control, and we do not need God or anyone else to help us. We use self-discipline to channel our life in the direction in which we want it to go (Philippians 3:6).

We eventually burn out or get overwhelmed by the multitude of stress that we put on our self and which we allow this world, which is full of trouble and sorrows, to put on us.

Throughout our life, God gives us many opportunities to partner with Him and to receive His multitude of blessings. These are choices that require faith in Christ's sacrifice on Calvary's cross and a commitment to God's will for each moment of our day.

As the years progress in the palm of His outstretched hands, we find everlasting peace, joy and love that we can find from no other source. Our passion to follow Jesus and our dedication to His Kingdom become our guiding light through the dark passages we encounter (Philippians 3:10).

The more time we spend in God's presence and walking in His Spirit, the more intimate our relationship with Jesus grows. This relationship is not only an intellectual union of knowing about God, but it involves a union of our emotions, choices and spirit with His presence within us as well.

The more we focus on God in our life, the quicker this transition takes place. When we submit our old, carnal, sin-filled nature to God, He fashions us into a new creation, gives us the mind of Christ and sanctifies our soul by His Spirit as we die daily to the desires of our flesh.

Nothing is more important to us than clinging to God each moment of every day. When we do, we rarely reap the abundance of trials and tribulation caused by destruction from Satan, or the discipline of God for our errant thoughts, words and deeds (Galatians 5:15-35).

We are no longer earthly-minded. We are more interested in spiritual pursuits, even in the midst of the daily grind of household chores, vocational demands, community involvement and family responsibilities. We keep our focus on Jesus in every endeavor, and He keeps us in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us how liberating life can be once we consider all things as inconsequential when we compare it to the wondrous opportunity that You provide for us to intimately know Your Trinity (Philippians 3:8). With this growing relationship, we learn contentment with whatever You choose to provide for us in our lifetime (Philippians 4:12).

We adapt more easily and move where You call us regardless of the sacrifices, which You call on us to make, because Your love, peace and joy continue to reign supreme over our thoughts, emotions and choices. You replace the temporary systems of this world, with the eternal promises You prepared for us before You ever created the world (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
If we cling to our accomplishments and possessions in this life, we rob our self of the abundance of blessings created especially for us by our loving Creator and God; therefore, God's Spirit enables us to release our desire to cling to this world's riches and to receive the gifts which God already prepared for us.



Monday, July 10, 2017

A Good Marriage - Ending the Charades

Timelaps of Forest Stream during Daytime

Living behind masks is a common practice in today's society. We emulate successful people and, in the process, abandon our true self - sticking him/her in a closet in the deep recesses of our soul.

The mistake is that we do not realize that eventually we will tire of the facadei and our true self will express our real thoughts and feelings and then make vital choices that effect everything about us.

Initially, we are drawn to our mate by what we perceive as true. When our mate's fa├žade begins to crack, we are disillusioned and maybe even dismayed by what we find inside.

A closet drinker, drug addict, over-eater, underachiever, work-a-holic, control freak, couch potato, criticizer, bully, etc. may come creeping out, and we realize we were fooled. This is when the fighting begins in the marriage.

If we have a prophetic nature, we may tend to point out the basic base nature of our spouse. This may cause him/her to feel criticized; so that they will point out to us all of our faults and imperfections. Hurt feelings, anger and arguments ensue.

Actually, realizing what we need to work on is a good thing and we can hold each other accountable. Mutually discovering short-comings will stop the charade in our marriage and enable us to relax more and find more comfort in our relationship.

Counseling will help us to adjust to and accept these negative character traits in our self and in our mate as we attempt to surrender our life to God's sanctifying work.

If our partner attends counseling too, this may help to free him/her from their negative weaknesses as well. This unbiased, professional input will help both of us to improve our idiosyncrasies, develop more character in each of us and help us to live with God's Agape love toward each other.

We will grow more intimate in our relationship and have more light to shine into the dark world around us in order to bring others to Christ. Passion will rise and the routine of life will have more variety and pizzazz.

Prayer:
Father God, the fruit of Your Spirit will grow within each of us and meld us into one flesh in Christ, who abides within us. Remind us that as we embrace Christ in us, Your Spirit transforms us with the mind of Christ into His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Show us that an uncovered relationship allows us and our partner to feel more loved by each other, to receive more affirmation for who we really are, to diminish the pressure of hiding behind masks, and to set us free to be human.

Thought for the Day:
As we live in the moment, we fear less and love more; experiencing through Christ in us a deeper, fulfilled life that does not need to hide behind masks in order to be accepted.