Finding Our Balance

I am enthralled lately about patience’s perfect work in us (James 1:4). I used to say, “Don’t pray for patience, your life will get inundated with trials of every sort.” However, I recently learned to embrace patience in the little things, and I have had fewer major issues with which to deal.

 

You know the little things I am talking about…they happen every day, all day. Take waiting, for instance. I despise waiting. My husband always gets everywhere early and is never, ever just on time or late. Waiting is a big part of my life. You too?

 

The doctor always over-schedules his appointments and we rarely if ever get to see him/her on time. Grocery lines, backed-up traffic, hospital surgery waiting rooms, meetings to start, counseling appointments to show up, our prayer to be answered, scheduled deliveries, etc. often make us wait.

 

I used to give-in to impatience, and fuss and fume inside; however, our Father God showed me a secret. Rather than allowing the frustration of waiting to overpower me…

 

I can lean into it and embrace it.

 

When I feel impatience taking over my soul, I simply say, “Okay, I am going to let patience have her perfecting work in me”; and then I relax. Leaning into and embracing waiting is the same concept as leaning into the wind on a stormy day.

 

If we fight the occasion of waiting, we exhaust our self, like we do when we fight the wind. If we simply lean into the wind, we find our balance and relax.

 

We always have the choice to control our thoughts and change them from negative to positive ones (Philippians 4:8). When we lean into the wait and allow patience to have her perfecting work in us, we feel calm pour over us, and a deep breath escapes our lungs as we relax.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for showing us that when we allow impatience to rule in our life, it makes us grouchy, spoils our witness, and hurts other people needlessly. The great fact about patience doing her perfect work in us is that we also have more love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Teach us to feel patience toward our foibles and idiosyncrasies, to accept other people just the way they are and to love them with Your agape love, to find Your joy in every situation as we trust only in You (James 1:2-3), and to enjoy the journey as Your Holy Spirit gives us the mind and nature of Jesus to replace our carnality. We can never thank You enough for Your love and grace.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we think life is finally manageable, trials strike and we tend to feel overwhelmed; but if we lean into the trial and relax, we can look forward to being whole, complete and in need of nothing as patience produces her enduring work in us. – James 1:3-4

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Trusting in the Lord

Walking in the center of God’s will keeps us within His safe parameters for our life. We find joy and peace even when we encounter trials. When we change our focus, we step into God’s peace that has nothing to do with our circumstances (Philippians 4:7).

 

Regardless of the amount of time and effort that we put into our perfect plans, they tend to end up in frustrating chaos and broken hearts. It is only as we seek God for His plans for our day that He will determine our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

 

Our time and effort is much more productive when we walk according to the direction of God’s Holy Spirit. We may experience setbacks and roadblocks even then, but we know that Satan is attempting to hinder us, and God will get the ultimate glory.

 

We trust in Him with our whole heart, at all times, even when His directions make no sense to our human understanding. This mindset prevents worry, anxiety and fear. We know that nothing will snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28-30).

 

Hiding under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91:1-2), allows us to enjoy the safety of resting in Him. We do everything, even down to the tiny particulars of life, for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we do not know what to do in any situation, we wait on the Lord.

 

We do not force the issue or make a decision without God’s complete peace ruling in our heart (James 1:5-6; Colossians 3:15). God is not in a hurry, so we can take our time and make sure that we hear from Him. God teaches us and shows us the way under His watchful care (Psalm 32:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we do not want to waste our time by pursuing our own goals (Proverbs 28:6) – building our paneled homes, while Your House lies in disrepair (Haggai 1:4). Help us to focus on Your will and not on our own plans. As we delight in You, You will give us Your desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). We can never thank You enough for answering our prayers.

 

You heal our diseases, provide us with Your presence in our life, and keep us safely sheltered under Your wings. You work out even the most horrific circumstances for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28), and we can trust in Your benevolence and justice not only for us, but for generations of our descendants as we serve You wholeheartedly with our life (Exodus 20:6).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we trust in the Lord (Psalm 20:7), He …

Never forsakes us (Psalm 9:10),

Showers us with His unfailing love (Psalm 13:5),

Remains as our God (Psalm 31:14),

Calms all of our fears (Psalm 56:3),

Blesses us beyond comparison (Psalm 84:12),

Makes our paths level and straight (Proverbs 3:6),

Gives us courage as His own children (Isaiah 43:1),

Delivers us from troubles (Daniel 6:23),

Comforts our heart (John 14:1), and

Fills us with joy and hope by the power of His Spirit (Romans 15:13).

 

A Good Marriage – Growing Together

The busyness, stress, expectations, demands, and requirements from every direction in life often rob us of intimacy in our marriage. We take each other for granted, making little effort to communicate and have fun together, and the relationship suffers.

 

Nourishing each other is as important as keeping our car tuned up, our garden watered, and our porch free of ice. If we do not tend to these matters, someone gets hurt; but when we realize our mistake, we can make the effort to draw back toward each other.

 

Togetherness is vitally important: Watching a special movie or an important football game together, eating together at the table without the TV and conversing about the day and our concerns and triumphs, taking a stroll through the neighborhood, sitting on the porch to watch the sunset, grocery shopping, ministering in the same ministry, sharing a date night, riding bikes, enjoying leisurely vacations, finding a show on TV that we will both enjoy, etc.

 

Committing to our marriage covenant and to sharing our life with one another helps to strengthen our connection. We prefer one another in areas in which we differ, taking turns to make the plans and sharing these moments together.

 

The most important commitment, however, is our passion for the Kingdom of God and being continually led by His Spirit. As a couple, we can read the same books and talk about what inspires us, discuss interesting Bible verses that we read in our devotion time, minister together in our community, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to hear Your Spirit’s direction before we marry anyone. We know that this is not a guarantee that we will not end up being divorced, but You will see us through any tragedy and meet all of our needs. If we look to our spouse to fulfill us, we end up disillusioned and disappointed.

 

Teach us not to allow busyness to rob us of our intimacy, and to make plans to have fun together as we grow together in our union and love for each other. Remind us to seek You and Your Kingdom together and to share in each other’s life. As we make You our first priority, we learn to make our spouse our second priority, and we allow everything else to fit in place behind these two vital relationships.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we share in each other’s interests, we double our exposure to potential enjoyment as we cement our love for one another, because starting all over again in another relationship disposes of our shared history, disrupts the lives of our whole family, has the potential to ruin us financially, robs us of our roots, and opens the door for more unhappiness with this new person.

 

 

God’s Principles – Physical Health

The Word of God is full of advice on how to live a healthy life -mentally, emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually (3 John 1:2). If we ferret them out of the chapters and verses, we find amazing truth by which to live our life (Proverbs 4:22).

 

When we are sick, God’s Word advises us to ask the church leadership to anoint us with oil and to pray for us. It takes humility and courage to walk down that aisle and request prayer, but the prayer of faith brings true results in forgiveness and healing (James 5:14-15).

 

It has been said that in ancient time, when a sheep repeatedly wandered away from the flock, the shepherd broke the wayward one’s leg, put it on his own shoulders, and carried it back to the safety of the flock.

 

Sometimes, God has to do this to us too. In order to protect us from harm, trials and destruction, He often wounds us, but does not break us; He injures us, but heals us with those same hands (Job 5:18).

 

When we abide in the Kingdom of God, healing takes place (Luke 10:9). If we wait on the Lord, our Great Physician gives us wisdom by His Spirit about what we can do to facilitate the healing process, as He teaches us to alter our lifestyle to encourage health.

As the Lord, our healer, God protects us from the diseases rampant in this life as we diligently listen to His voice, obey His directives, and keep His commandments and laws (Exodus 15:26). He brings glory to Himself and joy and peace to us by these miraculous healings (John 9:2).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we know that physical healing is not guaranteed in Jesus’ atoning work on Calvary’s cross; yet, You often heal people of their diseases. However, at times, we bring the illness on our self. We ignore conventional wisdom on what to eat and drink, how to incorporate exercise into our busy day, and how to avoid or to cleanse our life of environmental toxins that pervade our country.

 

We know that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1), and that You delight in the death of Your Saints (Psalm 116:15). As humans we view death as a devastating ending of our life; but as authentic Christians, You guarantee us eternal life both now and throughout eternity. We look forward to worshiping You forever, and we bless Your Holy name.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus healed many sick people during His lifetime (Matthew 12:13-15, 14:14, 14:36), and He is still in the healing business today; some say that if we die, it is because we were not healed; however, when we pass through death, we receive our ultimate healing as we enter our true eternal life and are healed forever.

Mindfulness in the Moment

Many people are so mindful about meeting everyone else’s needs that they ignore their own needs. This behavior diminishes our physical health, ruins our soul’s condition by entertaining resentment and/or anger and eventually bitterness, and taints our spiritual discernment.

 

Due to these intense negative feelings, we slip into compulsive, neurotic behavior without even being aware of why we are acting this way. We end up unloading all of that negative emotion on the people we care about the most.

 

If not arrested, this negative spiral will turn into a tornado of thoughts that feed attitudes, which fuel behavior in ways that make no sense to us at all. These thoughts are usually halfway concocted from our personal insecurities, and the other half come from Satan’s lies.

 

We form bad habits to protect our soul from hurt, afraid to trust anyone too much, skeptical and cynical of other people. Experts tell us that habits can be changed within a three week period.

 

We make a concentrated effort to do the opposite of what we have always done. We are mindful now of our own needs in each moment of the day. When we trip up and resort to our prior behavior, then we admit our mistake, apologize and try again.

 

Caring for our own needs, rather than expecting someone else to meet them, will save us from destroying our relationships and our own health. We can start by doing one kind action for our self each day; then we increase the amount of our self-care from there.

 

When we experience the multitude of ways that God starts to meet our needs, from the moment we make the commitment not to put unnecessary expectations on others, we will feel a deep sense of joy from His obvious love and care for us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we often have discouragement from Satan when we purpose in our heart to change our negative behavior to more constructive conduct. Remind us that in our times of vulnerability, we can pray, journal or talk to a confidante about our true feelings. Help us to realize that it is not fair or righteous to expect others to meet our needs, and we can trust that You want what is best for us.

 

Sometimes, what is best will make us sad, until we come to see that You meant it for our good (Genesis 50:20). We trust You, and praise You for Your involvement in our personal, individual life. Remind us to trust in Your goodness and to believe that You have our best interest in Your plans. You never leave or forsake us, and we give You all of the glory and praise for who we are, what we have and where we are going.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-care is such a foreign topic in Christian circles, because God’s Word encourages us to die to our self and to put others first; both of these facts are true, but they do not negate our need to meet our own legitimate needs as well, rather than expecting others to do so. – John 5:17

 

The Depth of God’s Love

When I read The Cross and the Switchblade, by David Wilkerson, I realized my need for Jesus as my Savior. The fact, that my sins caused Jesus to suffer and die in my place, humbled me and caused me to admit my sinful state, and to cast myself on God’s mercy.

 

Then, I thought I needed to prove myself to God, to earn His love by keeping His commandments. I thought Christians lived for Jesus, and I had no concept that I was to decrease, so that He could increase in me and live through me (John 3:30).

 

I lived in a state of stressful service, and had very little sustainable peace or joy. I viewed God as the scary face of the Wizard of Oz, until one day God revealed Himself to me as the man behind the curtain – a caring Being with compassion on all.

 

I realized through His Word that His love is a free gift, all-encompassing and everlasting (Romans 8:31-39). His desire is to redeem us with the blood of Jesus, and to protect us from the devastation of sin (Proverbs 11:5).

 

He loved us before we ever recognized that we love Him too (1 John 4:19). He desires to heal us in spirit and soul and body, and to transform us with the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8) until the fruit of His Spirit entirely replace our carnal nature (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Once we experience the magnitude of God’s love for us, we grow more in love with Him with each passing day. We see His love in His blessings in our life, and we feel it as He restores our soul (Psalm 23:3). His love sustains us through the trials of life.

 

As we learn to walk in His Spirit and to consult Him each moment of our day, He spares us from suffering the trials caused by our own making. We trust in Him with all of our heart and do not depend on our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

There is no need to fear life, because we can pray with gratitude in our heart, knowing that He will provide for our needs, and answer all of our prayers with a “yes”, “no”, or a “wait on me” (Philippians 4:6). He desires to bless us all the days of our life (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we stand in awe that Jesus was willing to do Your will and suffer His horrific persecution, crucifixion and death on the cross on our behalf. You provide for all of our needs, even generously giving us Your wisdom when we need it, without finding fault with us (James 1:5). As we wait on You, You tell us which way to go and what to do when we get there (Jeremiah 42:3)

 

Our life does not belong to us, but to You, and it is futile for us to attempt to direct our own path in it (Jeremiah 10:23). Thank You for putting Your desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4-5), and for fulfilling those plans as we commit our life to You and follow Your Spirit’s direction for every moment of our life (Proverbs 16:3; Isaiah 30:21).

 

Thought for the Day:

God searches our heart, and knows the intentions of all of our thoughts; if we seek Him, we will find Him, and as we serve Him with a willing mind and with all of our heart, He will never forsake or reject us for any reason. – 1 Chronicles 28:9; Hebrews 13:5

Freedom from Bondage

We cannot avoid pain, defeat and grief in this sin-curse world. Attempting to resist hurt and loss is futile and ruins our health and all of our relationships, even our relationship with our self. We live in bondage, uselessly carrying around heavy weights.

 

Satan’s lies cloud the eyes of our understanding, our expectations, our deepest needs, and our health and energy in our body, spirit and soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices. These lies add chaos to an already chaotic world.

 

Much of our frustration, resentment, anger, etc. are fueled by these satanic lies. The negative emotions attached to the lies are gone once we experience God’s Truth about who we are in Him, with Christ abiding within us by His Spirit (Galatians 2:20).

 

People that we refuse to forgive are not affected by our unforgiveness, but we certainly are. We carry around a heavy suitcase full of negative emotions that claw away at us in body, soul and spirit. This also prevents God from forgiving us (Matthew 6:14).

 

Forgiveness does not free the other person from their guilt, nor does it obligate us to be chummy with that person or to like them. It simply puts that person into God’s hands, so He can deal with them for us; He also gives us His agape love for them.

 

The benefits of letting go of our animosity toward those who hurt us are enormous. We gift our self with tranquility and peace of mind. For the first time, since we picked up the burden of unforgiveness, joy and harmony flood into our soul and we feel serene and relaxed.

 

Trusting in God’s truth frees us from the bondage of our past. We soon learn to maintain our focus on the joy of the Lord, regardless of our circumstances (James 1:2-18), and we flourish in every area of our life.

 

God is with us in both good times and bad – in the valleys, mountain tops and level paths (Psalm 27:11). He heals us from the devil’s lies, planted in past abusive situations, and He multiplies our joys regardless of our circumstances. We are never alone.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for revealing to us that much of our lack of energy, our illnesses, as well as our inner turmoil are caused by unresolved conflicts in our soul. You designed negative emotions to reveal an area of our body, soul or spirit that are not aligned with Your perfect plans for our life; so remind us to take frequent inventories to discover the root cause of them.

 

These negative emotions release negative ions into our body and the atmosphere around us, which make us sick in body, soul and spirit; so give us Your perspective and wisdom, which help us to resolve our conflicts, and to keep our focus on You and Your will for each moment of our day. We want to flourish in Your Spirit, rather than to barely endure this world’s trauma.

 

Thought for the Day:

We are not forced to simply survive in this world, but to overcome … and to go one step farther, because we can sing, and even dance through the storms of life in the joy of the Lord.