Transitions

Change is abhorrent to most people; however, life is full of adjustments. Much of the transition we experience as a new Believer occurs in our soul (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is Born Again; and although we still physically exist on this earth, we no longer walk according to the dictates of our physical, mental or emotional desires. We learn to walk according to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

Christ frees us from the bondage of our past. We are forgiven and there is no longer any condemnation (Matthew 6:14-15; Romans 8:1). We choose to change our priorities. We do not pursue anything, which prevents us from fellowshipping with God or walking in His perfect plan, which He ordained for us before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

We fight the carnal desires or satanic impulses, which continue to tempt us, by using spiritual weapons such as prayer, Bible reading, spiritual fellowship, and the ability, which the Spirit gives us, to corral our thoughts to the obedience of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8). Once we come to understand that Christ lives in us, we have no desire to ever live in the flesh again (Galatians 2:20).

This allows God to destroy the demonic strongholds from our past (John 8:32). He changes our negative thought patterns to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). He heals our negative emotions and fills us with the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He removes our negative behavior and exchanges it with acts of service to the King of kings (Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Timothy 6:15). We abide in unity with both our Father and our Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, the world follows self-help gurus and they hire life coaches to help them to succeed in life. These “experts” can only help a person to thrive in body and soul. Only You can rebirth our spirit, which is dead in sin. Only You can completely fulfill us in body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:11, 8:10). You bring us victory in every area of our life, and make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). If we remain in You and walk in Your Spirit we will live fruitful lives (John 15:5). We love You with all of our heart and we live, move and have our being only in You (Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
We often resist transitions; and, therefore, never receive the blessings, which accompany them; instead, we can embrace the changes God brings into our life and look for the advantages He has in store for us through them.

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How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Transformed Life

We often measure our success by our accomplishments. We crave the affirmation of our parents and peers. When we do not receive this validation, or when we fail to succeed in life, we lose all hope of a meaningful existence. We often change venues and attempt to receive recognition and triumph in some other area. We may enjoy fame for a while, but soon even that is hollow and vain.

There is only one way to truly succeed in this world. Once we surrender our entire life to God, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We grow in ways we never thought possible. Our hard heart is softened (Ezekiel 36:26), our knowledge increases concerning eternal conquests, our emotions level out, and our relationships deepen.

The Word of God penetrates into the most private areas of our life and transforms our mind and enlightens our soul (2 Timothy 3:14-16). God blesses us with His love in more abundant measures than we could ever deserve (2 Corinthians 9:8). We have the power, along with all of God’s Saints, to understand the width and height and depth of His love, and we realize that nothing in this world can ever take that away from us (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:38-39).

Our appreciation and adoration of God increases daily. We submit more willingly to His cleansing power in our life. God starts a work in our soul, which lasts a lifetime, and we see changes every day in small increments in every area of our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions (Romans 12:2). He molds us like a Potter with a hunk of clay, makes us into vessels for His service (Isaiah 64:8).

Prayer:
Father God, once we are totally broken, subdued, weak and humbled, we are ready for Your transforming power in our life. Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, so that we will walk on Your straight and narrow way according to Your precepts (Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:105; Matthew 7:13-14). You take our broken, useless lives and turn them into priceless works of art for Your glory. Remind us not to rely on the thoughts and intents of our heart, but to submit to Your Spirit’s transformation in our life (Proverbs 27:3; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Thought for the Day:
We are broken for God’s glory and then raised to walk in New Life with Him.                   – Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12

God’s Peace

God gives us the choice to use our life to either serve Him, self or Satan (John 3:16-18). We human beings search for peace all of our life, usually exploring all the wrong places, until we find Christ. When God’s Spirit reveals the reality of Christ to us, we turn from the dark life of separation from God to the spiritual walk of light and life (Romans 8:9).

There are two types of spiritual peace. One is peace with God, and the other is the peace of God. Both of these transcend any earthly peace we experience. They are true and present within us, regardless of our outer circumstances. God’s peace blesses us in every area of our life.

Peace with God comes when we surrender our life to Christ and trust Him to save us from our sins. He leads us in His daily will for us as we reject the influence of the world, the flesh and Satan (1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:10). God wraps us in His wisdom and strength. As children of God, we receive all the benefits of adoption into God’s Kingdom through our unity with Jesus, God’s Son and Heir (Acts 26:18).

The peace of God is a fruit of His Spirit, which we receive at salvation. It manifests in us as we rely on His Spirit instead of our human strength and accomplishments. We allow the peace of God to rule in our heart and to affect our body, soul and spirit (Colossians 3:15). We live by the faith of God’s Son, who dwells in us by His Spirit, and we trust Him to work out everything in our life for our good (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, we can never receive more of You than we have at Salvation, because You move into our spirit with all the attributes and power of the Trinity. However, we can enjoy more intimacy with You in correlation to how much time we spend with You each day. The more of our flesh, which we surrender to the Cross of Christ, the more of Your fullness we experience (Ephesians 3:19). We can never control life, but You always work things out for our good (Romans 8:28). In the midst of the storms of life, Your peace keeps us calm within and gives us wisdom for every situation, which we face (John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
As His Word dwells within us, God’s peace, which defies human comprehension, guards and rules in our soul – our mind, choices and emotions. – Colossians 3:16; Philippians 4:7

Rejoicing in Negative Circumstances

I used to think that if I rejoiced in my negative circumstances that I would not be honest with my true feelings. I did not want to pretend to feel the opposite of how I really felt. Yet, Paul admonishes us to rejoice in our tribulation (Romans 5:3). I could not figure out how to express joy without pretending an emotion, which I did not truly feel.

It took a major trial in my life to teach me the key to rejoicing always (Philippians 4:4). After 22 years, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. To say that I was shocked is an understatement; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

In the ensuing years, God taught me to be thankful even for these overwhelming negative circumstances, to rejoice in His hope, to have faith in His faithfulness, to be patient through every ordeal and to pray without ceasing (Romans 12:12). He instructed me to focus on the moment, rather than feeling depressed over the past and fearing the future.

I discovered that God is the only true anchor of my soul, and I would always dwell in the inner sanctuary of His Temple, regardless of my marital status and the earthly success of my life (Hebrews 6:19). I experienced the truth that nothing could ever snatch me out of God’s hand, and that I would always enjoy total security in His love (John 10:29). Now, those are real reasons to rejoice forevermore (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

Since then, I started looking at every trial as a seed for a miracle, which is just waiting to sprout. I know that there are situations more devastating than the loss of a mate; but I am convinced that Jesus, the Lover of my soul who saw me through that time in my life, will enable me to honestly rejoice through any future negative circumstance, large or small (Matthew 11:28; Psalm 23).

Prayer:
Father God, You have a divine purpose for everything that happens to Your children. Thank You for teaching me to trust You regardless of how negatively my circumstances develop. You filled me with Your presence through every moment of that nightmare, and You guided me by Your Spirit in all of my ways (Romans 8:14). Although I still grieve over the dissolution of my family unit, You restored my ministry as a pastor’s wife and You gave me a new husband who gives me more love than I ever imagined was possible on this side of heaven.

Thought for the Day:
There is no negative circumstance in our life that God is not orchestrating for our good. – Romans 8:28

Our Motivation in Life

As an authentic Born Again Believer, our motivation in life comes from one of four sources: the flesh, the world, the devil or God’s Spirit. At times, it is hard to discern which one is influencing our thoughts, emotions, desires and actions. We can discover the source of our motivation by checking on our responses to the situation.

Are our thoughts, words and actions mirroring the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) or the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Negative emotions and behavior are definite clues that the flesh, the world or the devil is influencing us, rather than the Spirit (1 John 2:16). Fleshly conduct and demonic oppression in a Believer is the direct result of not walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-18).

When we recognize that we are out of the Spirit, we can confess our thoughts and behavior as sin, and ask our Father to renew a right spirit in us (Psalm 51:10). God is always quick to forgive us and to empower us with His Holy Spirit. Once we turn away from our carnal behavior and seek the Lord’s direction, He enables us to make amends to anyone we hurt, while we operated in the flesh.

We walk in the Spirit as we stay connected to the Spirit throughout the day. He will direct each moment and everything included in it, if we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). The more we rely on the Spirit, the more victory we have over the flesh, the world and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-10). We are no longer motivated by worldly success, the balance of our bank account, or the number and type of our friends, but by God.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we are an extension of Christ on the earth (John 14:12). We walk in obedience to You to the best of our ability, relying on the Holy Spirit to keep us on the straight and narrow and in the center of Your will (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:15). Thank You for forgiving our shortcomings and inspiring us to focus on the eternal, rather the earthly aspects of our life. We want all that we think, say and do to bring You glory (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Thought for the Day:
Do not make plans; consult the Lord and follow His desire for every moment of your day. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Help for Hurting People

Hurting people go in one of three directions: they clam up and become a loner, hoping to avoid any more pain; or they strike out like a bully, injuring others as badly as they are hurting inside; or they hate the pain they are inflicted with, and they never want anyone else to hurt as much as they do, so they help to carry someone else’s burden.

I have no idea what causes people to react in such different ways. Maybe their personality, or their inability to bear any more pain, or the example of others in their life, or an instinctive desire to help someone else will fuel their behavior. Regardless of their reaction, however, they all have one thing in common. They are wounded beyond the ability of their soul to handle any more pain.

Sometimes our anguish is so intense, that we do not want to admit it, even to our self; pain that we are afraid to verbalize, in fear that we will feel the ache all over again, or even more intensely than we felt it the first time. We may not even know or remember the incident, which inflicted this trauma. We may have disassociated from the event, so that we can forget it in the hopes of stopping the pain.

A good method of releasing this pent-up torment is to write about it on a piece of paper – to keep a journal in which we write truthfully and often. We allow our soul to express the cause of our pain and the profound feelings we keep buried deeply within our soul. There is no need to write a whole paragraph, a phrase or a sentence will do.

Reading it to someone else is your option, but not a necessity. Just one sentence is all we need, in order to diffuse the terrifying emotion, which is keeping us in bondage. If you do not remember the incident, then just list the negative emotions rampant in your soul right now: anger, bitterness, revenge, brokenness, depression, discouragement, hopelessness, etc.

Then, ask God to disclose the source of these emotions; to reveal the lies, which Satan planted in this experience; and then to express His truth about this hidden pain. God knows the end of our life from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He was there when we experienced this pain. He wants us to lay our pain at the Cross, and to ask Jesus to make us a new creation; so that He can care for us (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).

Prayer:
Father God, it takes courage for us to go hunting in the recesses of the jungle of our mind. Weeds, vines and underbrush wall in our pain; and we will have to break through these barriers in order to expose the anguish all over again. Pour out Your love upon us as we embark on this journey. Pull out the splinters of pain that have festered over the years from neglect. Renew a right spirit within us and give us Your joy as our strength (Psalm 28:7, 51:10, 71:26, 94:19; Nehemiah 8:10). Then help us to help other hurting people to find freedom in Your love as well.

Thought for the Day:
As we draw nearer to God, we can resist the devil and he will have to run from us. – James 4:7-8
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