Help My Unbelief

A father brings his son to Jesus. The boy has a mute spirit and experiences epileptic-type seizures. He believes Jesus can heal his son; yet because the disciples already failed to do so, he is afraid to try again. He asks Jesus for help with his unbelief (Mark 9:23-25).

We all feel this way sometimes. We know what the Word of God says, what preachers tell us, and what our friends share with us; yet, we still have such little faith!

Through this tiny verse God shows His humor and mercy in the same breath! He teaches us that the important aspect is to choose to believe, even when circumstances cause us to feel uncertain.

God understands that we lose hope and get discouraged. So, God put this powerful verse in the Bible to remind us that as long as we choose to believe, then He will do the rest.

Prayer:
Lord, we want to walk in obedience, trusting in Your promises and doing greater works than Jesus did (John 14:12). We believe in You; yet, at times, our faith is weak. Thank You for helping our unbelief, and for providing for all of our spiritual, physical and emotional needs.

We praise You day and night for Your wonderful works and multitude of blessings to the Your children. You do so much for us and take such an active roll in the details of our life. Thank You for caring enough to give Your life for our redemption and salvation.

Thought for the Day:
Hearing from God often requires that we find a quiet place to still our thoughts and focus on His presence in our life.

To Burn Brighter Still

We often encounter winds of adversity in our life. Satan means for them to snuff out our light; but God is faithful – not only to give us grace to withstand the storms, but also to allow them to help us to burn brighter still.

We may experience discomfort from a fiery trial, a disappointing loss or a daunting challenge; but we will always have light, because the Son within us never fades.

It is human nature to respond to adversity by fighting back or by grumbling and complaining. In resorting to this negative behavior, we actually lose our serenity altogether.

Even through circumstances, which rage out of our control, God provides a place of rest for us (Hebrews 4:11). The key is to patiently accept that He has everything under His control.

As the Great Physician, our Father God often applies His scalpel to some part of our life that is sick or diseased. He makes a clean cut and leaves no scar. Though He wounds, He will never break (Matthew 12:20).

He only operates when it is absolutely necessary, and when He knows it is for our ultimate, overall good health. He uses life’s circumstances as His surgical tools to remove dead weight from our life.

He may remove some cherished person, home, job, etc, but He knows the plans He has for our future (Jeremiah 29:11), and what He chooses to remove is not part of those plans.

When we realize the truth that God is always constant and sheds His love and wisdom on us regardless of our circumstances, we learn to be content in whatever condition we find our self (Philippians 4:11-13).

This way, we will never experience the depression of hopes dashed against the cold reality of a faded dream. Instead, we will rest in the solid constancy of a never changing Son who never fails us nor forsakes us (Isaiah 60:20; Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, sometimes, we foolishly fill the void in our life with earthly treasures. We play the game of “if only.” “If only I could have this possession or that person, I’d be complete.” Remind us that even when we attain our heart’s desire, the newness eventually wears off, the meaning evaporates and we are empty once again.

Help us to see that it is only when we completely surrender to Christ in our life, and when we do not try to replace Him with earthly treasures, that we remain happy and fulfilled with true joy now and throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
Whatever we cherish as the desire of our heart is actually our god; if Jesus is our purest desire, we will feel the fulfillment, which only comes when we live a life entirely surrendered to the will of God.

God’s Inclusive Love

Authentic Believers have no desire to sin; however, the world, the devil and the flesh cause temptations for our body and soul, which are often hard to resist.

The good news here is that God gives us a way to escape any temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Temptations also sharpens our faith and work patience into our character (James 1:2-4).

Satan may bombard us with doubt and anxiety, but if we look to Christ His perfect love will cast out all of our fear (1 John 4:18).

Some people refuse to admit they are sinners; however, they are living in deception, and calling God a liar (1 John 1:8-10). Anyone willing to repent is quickly forgiven by God and cleansed from all iniquity.

Jesus is our advocate with our Father when we do sin, because He paid the penalty of our sin (1 John 2:1-2). This proves that God has nothing but love for us.

God is love, and when we abide in God, we abide in His love (1 John 4:16). In God’s love we have no fear. His love for us gives us confidence in His faithfulness.

Prayer:
Father God, You are with us, and that is all we need. We rejoice in our weakness, because then You can show Yourself strong through us. People see Christ’s power within us rather than our own abilities and adequacy (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We actually exult in our insufficiency, because we realize that we need to depend on You in every moment of our day to make us strong. Our attitude in our weakness is actually a testimony of Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:
When we succumb to temptation, we fail to avail our self of the escape, which God always supplies; and we ultimately disappoint our Father God. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Isaiah 11:6

​God tells us that unless we act and think as a little child, we cannot enter His Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). He is not suggesting that we throw temper tantrums or act self-centeredly.

He wants us to lay down our selfish pride, humble our self under the mighty hand of God, and live with child-like trust in our Father God (1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 131). He wants us to live in the moment according to His Will for it.

God calls us to forsake the love of all earthly attitudes, people, possessions, pride and self-centeredness for the sake of Christ in us (Luke 14:26, 33). Our carnal flesh is dead and hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

There is no need to perfect our self, because we are already dead to sin through Christ (Galatians 2:20). We simply draw near to God and resist the devil’s temptation, because God always gives us a way to escape (James 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Christ is our whole life during every moment of our earthly existence (Colossians 3:4). God carries out His perfecting work in our soul by His Spirit (Hebrews 13:21).

We have no concern for our self-worth apart from Christ in us (Matthew 19:17). Any self-effort will only accumulate carnal treasures, which are actually wood, hay and stubble, according to God’s opinion (Galatians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 3:12).

We are totally incapable of working for God through human power. Our human endeavors stink in God’s sight (Luke 16:15).

Therefore, we do nothing from our self-efforts, and everything according to the will of God, by the power of God working in us (John 8:28; Zechariah 4:6).

Prayer:

Father God, You have no interest in the power of our flesh, because You fight our battles for us (2 Chronicles 32:8). This is so evident when we read about the Battle of Jericho, and so many other battles, which Israel fought in Canaan land.

We fight many spiritual battles during our lifetime, but if we are wise, it is only and always by Your Spirit (Ephesians 6).

If we act like prideful and disobedient children, and carry out our own plans, choose our own mate and increase in sin daily, we do not belong to You (Isaiah 30:1-2; 1 John 1:6).

Authentic Believers do not rely on our human talents to do Your Will, but only on the power of Your Spirit within us (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Thought for the Day:

Christ is the hand, and we are the glove; the glove is perfectly molded to the hand and moves only as directed by the hand.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Isaiah 11:6

God tells us that unless we act and think as a little child, we cannot enter His Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). He is not suggesting that we throw temper tantrums or act self-centeredly.

He wants us to lay down our selfish pride, humble our self under the mighty hand of God, and live with child-like trust in our Father God (1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 131). He wants us to live in the moment according to His Will for it.

God calls us to forsake the love of all earthly attitudes, people, possessions, pride and self-centeredness for the sake of Christ in us (Luke 14:26, 33). We are dead and hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

There is no need to perfect our self, because we are already dead to sin through Christ (Galatians 2:20). We simply draw near to God and resist the devil’s temptation, because God always gives us a way to escape any temptation (James 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Christ is our whole life during every moment of our earthly existence (Colossians 3:4). God does the perfecting work in our soul by His Spirit (Hebrews 13:21).

We have no concern for our self-worth apart from Christ in us (Matthew 19:17). Our self-effort will only accumulate carnal treasures, which are actually wood, hay and stubble, according to God’s opinion (Galatians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 3:12).

We are totally incapable of working for God through human power. Our human endeavors stink in God’s sight (Luke 16:15).

Therefore, we do nothing from our self-efforts, and everything according to the will of God, by the power of God working in us (John 8:28; Zechariah 4:6).

Prayer:
Father God, You have no interest in the power of our flesh, because You fight our battles for us (2 Chronicles 32:8). This is so evident when we read about the Battle of Jericho, and so many other battles, which Israel fought in Canaan land.

We fight many spiritual battles during our lifetime, but if we are wise, it is only and always by Your Spirit (Ephesians 6).

If we act like prideful and disobedient children, and carry out our own plans, choose our own mate and increase in sin daily, we do not belong to You (Isaiah 30:1-2; 1 John 1:6).

Authentic Believers do not rely on our human talents to do Your Will, but only on the power of Your Spirit within us (1 Corinthians 2:4).

Thought for the Day:
Christ is the hand, and we are the glove; the glove is perfectly molded to the hand and moves only as directed by the hand.

The Mind of Christ

Our thoughts are as important in our walk with God as our words. God stresses their importance in many Bible verses. We need to guard our thoughts as well as our words (Proverbs 4:23).

Satan plants thoughts of temptation in our mind. Will we act on it and sin, or will we “draw near to God and resist the devil, so he will flee from us?” (James 4:7)

We keep our mind in peace by dwelling only on issues, which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

I often hear people say that God does not speak to them, or that God stopped speaking to them. Have we grieved God’s Holy Spirit by our thoughts, word or deeds? (Ephesians 4:30-31) Are we walking in the will of God? (2 Corinthians 6:16). Or is this a quiet time?

I believe that in the quiet times, God is telling us to wait, to trust, and to rest in His love as we enjoy His companionable silence. We sit in silence and just enjoy His presence while we focus on His goodness in our life. Almighty God, Creator and Master deigns to fellowship with us each moment of the day.

God delights in sharing with us all the needed tidbits of information to enable us to serve Him during our day, or in the coming weeks. He gives us the wisdom we need or some counsel on an issue in our life.

God’s Spirit within us calms our fears when we worry about the future and we succumb to the anxiety surrounding the unseen issues, which disturb our peace. God remedies this by giving us the faith of Christ who dwells within us (Romans 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, we love belonging to Your family. Everything else on earth fades when compared to this privilege. You always know when we need Your spiritual strength for the next bend in the river. You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As fear rises in our heart during some daunting experience, thank You for continually abiding within us, and enabling us to do whatever You call us to do (Philippians 4:13).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:15-16

Healing Relationships – Part 4

When our soul begins to heal, our personality, behavior and beliefs change. This may put our partner on the defensive and cause them to feel insecure.

Our relationship changes from independent, dependent or codependent to interdependent, and our family and friends are not used to it.

The healthy changes, which we make, will bring healing in our body, soul and spirit. It will help us to establish an interdependence with our mate, as they get used to the changes.

It will limit our negative reactions to one another, improve feelings of self-worth, change the way we meet our own needs and give us more energy to serve others as God’s Spirit leads us according to His will, rather than by codependent urges.

Intimacy increases, expectations decrease, and in conflict we blend differing ideas into a whole new concept on which we both agree. We are mutually interdependent with one another.

Unresolved disagreements cause a couple, which normally live in an atmosphere of cooperation, to form independent lives that disrupt their interdependence.

Interdependence means that it is healthy to have differing ideas, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, because these differences bring variety to the relationship.

Interdependence is living in a mutually reciprocal relationships. It is about forming intimate connections with another human being. We share the decision-making process in our relationship and mutually care about one another’s welfare and feelings.

We are conscious in our choices, own responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and readily admit when we are wrong.

We enjoy deeper, more meaningful associations, and greater productivity, service, contribution and growth in our relationship.

We cherish, appreciate, admire, respect, enjoy, love and care about one another, and we never miss an opportunity to affirm and to validate one another.

Prayer:
Father God, help those of us with wounds from the past to heal and to have the wisdom and courage to develop an interdependent relationship with our partner, children, co-workers, associates and church family.

Give us patience with them as they too heal from the wounds of their past. Then allow us to serve You together in our individual gifts and calling, according to Your will for each of our lives.

Thought for the Day:
Interdependent relationships bring harmony and enjoyment to any marriage, partnership or community.

Healing Relationships – Part 3

A Fulfilled Life for Us

Any time that we give power over our self-worth to another person, rather than to God alone, we are making that person an idol in our life.

As we discover our healthy self-worth in Christ, based on knowing His Word and how He feels about us, then we can follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in forming safe relationships.

We will still experience negative feelings, such as hurt, fear, anger, loneliness, etc. These feelings are an integral part of life, and they come with the human experience.

It is impossible to love without opening our self up to be hurt. When we choose to love someone, we are giving him/her the power to love us and to look to us to be loved.

However, we can love without also giving them the power to hurt us or to allow their words and actions to cause us to feel insecure, angry or…

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Healing Relationships – Part 3

Any time that we give power over our self-worth to another person, rather than to God alone, we are making that person an idol in our life.

As we discover our healthy self-worth in Christ, based on knowing His Word and how He feels about us, then we can follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in forming safe relationships.

We will still experience negative feelings, such as hurt, fear, anger, loneliness, etc. These feelings are an integral part of life, and they come with the human experience.

It is impossible to love without opening our self up to be hurt. When we choose to love someone, we are giving him/her the power to love us and to look to us to be loved.

However, we can love without also giving them the power to hurt us or to allow their words and actions to cause us to feel insecure, angry or frightened.

When someone’s words or behavior trigger a negative reaction in us, this is a sign that something is very wrong. We can take that negative emotion to God and ask Him to reveal the origin of this sensitivity in us.

There may be an unresolved conflict from our past, which is still very much alive in our subconscious mind; or it may rise from some current situation that is causing this negative feeling. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

Once we submit to God’s healing, these slights and rejection no longer have the power to devastate us like they used to, because we have a spiritual perspective now.

God helps us to resolve our negative feelings, and we have peace within once again. At the same time, we can keep communication open between our self and others.

We can even mention, in a non-accusatory manner, that their behavior or words triggered a fearful or hurtful reaction in us. However, we do not have to attack them or cause a negative reaction in them, just because we are hurt.

Prayer:
Father God, it is so difficult to heal emotionally once we are in a caustic relationship. Our mate expects us to act as we always do. They feel threatened and confused as we start to change.

Remind us to share with them what we are learning and how we are changing, so they will not be surprised by any sudden transformation in our behavior. Create in both of us a clean heart that lives only to serve You in this life.

Thought for the Day:
The best motivation for mutual change in a relationship is to realize that change gives us a better connection.

For more information on our identity in Christ read:
http://fulfilledchristianlife.blogspot.com/2015/02/normal-0-our-identity-in-christ-alone.html