Keeping Our Soul Safe

A property line around our yard, a fence around our house, a door on a room, etc. are all physical boundaries. They often keep us safe and settle disputes, as well as protect us from intruders and from losing our self in the midst of their problems.

 

Emotional boundaries are very important for the well-being of our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings (Proverbs 4:23). We put distance between us and people who wound us, or we sever ties all together to protect our self from further abuse.

 

Every human needs to feel protected and unconditionally loved. As we grow in our self-awareness, we begin to realize our need for boundaries. We conserve energy, which we used to consume resisting perpetrators, and have more ability and resources to give to those who truly need what God gives to us.

 

We use the compassion and empathy we learned from our abuse to minister to those God sends our way. The thorns in our flesh no long consume our time or energy, because of boundaries. We focus on God’s will for each moment of our life.

 

We have grace with our own personal insecurities, blind spots and fears and allow our self to receive God’s unconditional love for us. We set limits on our care-giving to others in order to have enough personal resources to care for our own soul.

 

Saying “No” and speaking the truth in love prevents us from enabling and getting enmeshed by rescuing others who get into trouble due to their disobedience to God, their irresponsible behavior and their own lack of boundaries.

 

This prevents us from emotional and physical depletion and burning out, and helps us to be more effectual and appropriate in helping others with legitimate needs. We only rescue those for whom God provides us with a lifeline.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that You already rescued every person in the world through Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have no responsibility to rescue people, because they need to turn to Christ in their hour of need, not to us. Help us not to enable selfish and irresponsible people, but only to help as Your Spirit leads us. Enable us to resist taking the weight of the problems of the world on our shoulders and to leave it on Yours, where it belongs.

 

Cleanse our heart from anger, resentment, an overload of stress and burnout which we acquire from our lack of boundaries and our penchant for attempting to help where You are not calling us to give aid. Do not allow us to be manipulated by the negative emotions others use to control us. Allow us instead to abound in Your grace and to pray for the needs in the lives of others as they learn to trust You as their Savior instead of us.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus made His need for physical rest and the restoration of His soul as a priority in His life by following the leading of God’s Spirit with His life. – Luke 5:16

 

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Spectating or Serving

The church is the Body and Bride of Christ, commissioned to carry the gospel into all the world, and especially in our local community. We reach out with the gospel of Christ to friends, relatives, work and hobby associates and neighbors (Mark 16:15-16).

 

We serve in one ministry in our local church as the Lord calls us to assist, working in an area in which we are interested, and remaining faithful to that calling until God directs us to serve in a new direction in our church body (Romans 12:4-5).

 

When we see a need, or something that is blocking the growth of our church family, rather than complaining, ridiculing and looking for another church, we put our hand to the plow and help to change things for the better.

 

This may require that we increase our financial giving, spend more time supporting the church leadership and ministries, taking the initiative to ask the leadership the ways in which we can be the most help to the Body and allowing them to equip us for this ministry.

 

We do not expect our church to have the personality, ministries, outreach and worship identical to every other church in town, because God gives each congregation His own unique flavor to meet the need for which He designed our particular congregation.

 

We faithfully pray to the Lord of the Harvest to bring workers into the field; and we serve as an example of a loving, outreaching, soul-winning, hardworking member of the local church where God calls us.

 

When we do this, we see God’s hand faithfully supplying all the needs in our life and in the life of that congregation; and we feel blessed to be a part of His work in our community as we partake in the ministries of the family of God meeting in the facilities which God provided and for which we care and contribute towards.

 

Prayer:

Father God, raise up congregations across the nation that are committed to one another as Your family. It is so easy for a person to divorce a congregation and go across town to find one that better suits their needs, with no regard to Your will for them in service to that original congregation. Help us to covenant together in faith and to fellowship around the Gospel instead of the worship or preaching style, the size of the bulletin or the amount of lights and instruments used on the stage.

 

Teach us to agree on the central truths of Your Word and to live by these truths rather than by our personal preferences and carnal desires. Inform us about the true meaning of our spiritual gifts and help us to find a place to use those gifts for the mutual edification of the Body in which You call us to serve.

 

Remind us that contrary to popular belief, the church is not a gathering of spectators called to criticize the music, minister and ministries of a particular congregation. Before we were even conceived, You called us and placed us in a certain church in order to serve the Body in any needed ministry to which you call us (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

We do not discriminate in the fellowship of the church, but we include every race, nationality, dialect and personality; however, we do insist on members adhering to the primary principles of the scripture and living according to its dictates rather than the liberal, all-inclusive attitude of the world today; everyone is welcome to attend, but God only offers membership in His family to adherents of Biblical Truth.

 

An Unveiled Mirror

An Unveiled Mirror

 

I want to be an unveiled mirror, reflecting God’s glory to the world all around me (2 Corinthians 3:18). There are issues in my life that prevent this from happening – they come from my fleshly, carnal nature and shroud me in a veil.

 

My spirit is regenerated, but my soul is not completely sanctified yet. I still have issues that prevent God’s glory from shining from within me. Fears, insecurities, feelings of being overwhelmed, discouragement and an intolerance for change all block Him from being foremost in my life.

 

I no longer obsess over the issues that cause these negative emotions, but some of them are still in my subconscious mind, blocking the glory of God from fully shining out from my spirit.

 

God reveals these issues to me one at a time throughout my years of spiritual growth in Him. Sometimes one issue will solve the problem with other issues, so that we cast a net over them all at one time.

 

For instance, fear of change is connected to the fear of destitution. I falsely believe that as long as I maintain the status quo, I will be safe. There are just too many variables in life to maintain any status quo for very long. Life happens – and when it does, it often brings change and adversity.

 

So, if I lay down at God’s feet this idol of wanting to stay safe, He can fill me with His faith that believes that even in adversity, God is my constant companion and champion (Luke 24:13-35). He never leaves or abandons me (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This builds my faith in His faithfulness, so that I can view trials as adventures and seek God’s purpose even in the midst of them. Maybe He has someone for me to witness to, or a lesson for me to learn, or some ulterior motive that He may never reveal to me.

 

The more time that I spend in God’s presence, the more I allow Him to change my personality to His fruit, the less control I attempt to maintain over my life, then the quicker He is able to sanctify my soul and the more of His glory is revealed in me.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You love us with Your everlasting love and draw us close to You by Your loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). I ask Your Holy Spirit to control my every thought, word and deed for Your glory (Colossians 3:17). Grant us according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in our inner being, as Christ dwells in our heart through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).

 

Root and ground us in Your love, flood us through all of our being with all of Your fullness, oh God; so that we may have the richest measure of Your presence and become a body wholly filled with You (Ephesians 3:18-19, Amplified Bible).

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord has searched us and intimately knows us, even when we sit down and when we will get up and walk around again; He understands our thoughts, even the ones we will think in the distant future; He knows every detail of our life and is acquainted with all of our ways. – Psalm 139:1-6
 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoked With Jesus

Jesus told us to take His yoke on us and He would give us rest (Matthew 29:29-30). Picture a wooden yoke hooking two oxen together to pull a load.

 

One oxen alone bears all the burden, but two oxen share the weight and make the load lighter. Alone in this world without Christ in our life, we are not fully alive, because our spirit is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-5). We barely make it and even our success is hollow and meaningless.

 

If we are yoked with Jesus, He carries the full brunt of the load on His shoulders. The shared yoke also keeps us in step with Jesus as we traverse life (Galatians 5:16, 25). We are never alone again.

 

We have no worries or fears because our sin nature is dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3, Romans 6:5; 1 Corinthians 6:17).). Paul learned this lesson when God used him mightily even while imprisoned (Acts 16:16-40).

 

Like Paul, we too can keep our focus on Christ in us (Romans 6; 2 Corinthians 11:23-12:10). Paul considered the loss of his human achievements as trivial when compared to the joy of serving the Lord (Philippians 3:9).

 

We can make it the goal of our day to feast on God’s Word in order to feed our spirit, to nurture our soul with spiritually beneficial activities and to sustain our body with wholesome foods.

 

Yoked with Jesus our burdens lighten, our worries diminish, our fears vanish and our faith in His faithfulness increases. This intimate union nourishes every part of our being through every moment of our day.

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You invite us to yoke up with You and to permit You to carry our burdens. We do not crumble under the weight of our circumstances, because we are yoked as one with You. The closer we live in this union with You, the more peacefully life transpires for us, regardless of our circumstances. You set us free from caring about whatever is bothering us.

 

Because of Your plan and purpose for our life, we die to this concern and it no longer has power over our life. If we experience a similar trial, You remind us that we are dead to this issue. It is no longer a false god or a graven image, which consumes our time and attention. We experience total freedom in this area. Now, Satan has less and less to tempt or badger us with in the future.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we follow God’s Spirit each moment of the day, we live in overwhelming peace and gratitude for all He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us, in us and through us. – Colossians 3:15

 

Attitudes Count

What is an attitude? It is a state of mind, a prevailing thought and it influences every aspect of our life. As a melancholy from birth, my attitude reflected a pessimistic bent.

 

I had a hard time seeing a glass half full, because my fearful and insecure personality saw everything as a potential problem. I was never satisfied and rarely hopeful. Depression constantly nipped at my heels.

 

The stresses of life intimately influence our attitude, which effects our thoughts, words and deeds. According to doctors, stress causes illness and infection to invade our physical, mental and emotional state of being.

 

Scientific research found a direct correlation between stress and our cortisol levels, which is supposed to help us to deal with stress. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, so we are able to flee or fight.

 

After we deal with the stress of a situation, the cortisol and adrenalin are supposed to subside and our body returns to normal. However, with chronic stress these chemical are constantly on high alert and affect our heart, digestion, sleep and energy level, and cause us to suffer from weight gain and adrenal fatigue.

 

In turn, adrenal fatigue contributes to major issues such as autoimmune disease and its accompanying illnesses. Pessimism exacerbates these issues and affects our mental and emotional status as well.

 

The exception to this rule is when a healthy sense of pessimism encourages us to seek wise counsel, make prudent plans and discourages us from taking unnecessary risks.

 

However, optimism usually works more in our favor. If we discipline our inner dialogue with our self to stay positive and trust God to help us, we will live more optimistically. Godly optimism empowers us to make a difference in our life and also in our world.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that negative self-talk in our mind will defeat us every time. Satan whispers lies in our “ear” and we end up embracing them. Help us to stop judging or criticizing our self and others, and to be encouraging – especially to our self.

 

As a pessimist, life feels overwhelming to me, but I thank You for helping me to reword my self-talk and to think more positively. You changed my thought processes and are helping me to change my world by allowing Your Word to cleanse my soul and to restore to me the joy of my salvation. (Psalm 51:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s Spirit will choose one aspect of our life at a time, and change our way of thinking about that issue, which helps us to change our focus about other issues as well.

 

 

A Divine Relationship

Many people attempt to develop a relationship with Jesus and are not able to completely enter into this intimate union with Him (Luke 13:23-24). This is because they seek this relationship for all the wrong reasons.

 

They want the benefits of the fulfilled Christian life, but they do not want to live up to the commitment. Joshua encouraged Israel to choose to serve the Lord, and that is actually what it takes to have this coveted relationship (Joshua 25:15).

 

God’s grace provides the opportunity for salvation to every person ever born (Titus 2:11). He is not willing for anyone to perish in the flames of hell for eternity, but for everyone to come to Him in repentance (2 Peter 3:9; John 3:18).

 

We do not earn this stature, because it is a free gift; but it does require a choice to commit to the Lord in wholehearted dedication to His ways and His Word (Romans 5:15).

 

Satan will fight our choice at every turn. He is used to having us in his service and he wants us back. Therefore, spiritual battle is an ongoing event in the Christian’s life (1 Timothy 6:12).

 

Our power of choice is still alive and well in the heart of every Believer. We make choices every day either to serve God, our flesh, the world or the devil.

 

Satan tempts us as he did Adam and Eve, to make choices from our self-motivated will, independently from God’s will for our life (Genesis 2:1-17; Ephesians 2:10). To draw us away from God’s best, he uses legitimate needs we have as human beings; but they end up being lies.

 

God will convict us; but it is up to us to choose to totally surrender our body, soul and spirit to Him; so that His Spirit can heal our body, sanctify our soul and regenerate our spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that conviction does not save us, it simply humbles us and brings us to the point of repentance. The good news is that Christ in us is greater than any influences outside of us (1 John 4:4). The more we understand our new identity in You as an authentic Believer, the more quickly we grow in spiritual maturity.

 

With maturity, we find it easier to choose to live in dependence on You for all of our needs. We realize that it is not necessary for us to sin in an attempt to meet our basic needs. When we hunger and thirst for Your righteousness (Matthew 5:6), You supply everything for us according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

 

Thought for the Day:

Conversion only comes through a heart-felt commitment to follow Christ with our life; and it stirs us to read our Bible, to attend worship services, to attend Bible studies and to praise God in every moment through every circumstance – the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

Answered Prayer

In these last days of the Church Age, people are ever-learning, but never walking in the Truth of God’s Word. They go to multiple conferences and Bible studies and take veracious notes, but never apply the Truth to their life.

 

They fill their mind, but their heart is hardened. They do not keep their focus on Jesus, but on the letter of the law; becoming legalistic and judgmental (Hebrews 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:6).

 

They lack a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and they do not walk in the Spirit. Knowledge is their God and focus, which puffs us up with pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). They fall apart in trials, because their faith is based on information rather than relationship.

 

Jesus gave us His Word, but He also gave us Himself and abides within our Born Again spirit. He gives us His peace and an eternity to worship Him in His comfort and joy as we live a life of praise to His Holy Name (John 14:27).

 

We are often too busy with our worldly pursuits to spend time listening to God. We are anxious and stressed because we do not have His peace to guard our heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).

 

When we trust in God, our mind is focused only on Him and is immovable and resting in God’s peace (Isaiah 26:3). His Spirit takes up residence in our spirit and we are filled with all of His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Only a life which is totally surrendered to God’s control and walking by His Spirit’s direction can experience this peace in the turmoil all around us in this world.

 

God hears our prayers and provides us with everything we need to live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12). He supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches, turns every trial into a blessing, and keeps us in the center of His will – the happiest place on earth (Romans 8:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we choose to follow hard after You, rather than pursuing the things of this life (Psalm 63:8). We come to You in repentance and enter into Your rest; in quietness and confidence in Your faithfulness we find our strength (Isaiah 30:15). We bask in Your presence as in the noonday sun, and we rest in Your warmth that envelops us with Your healing touch.

 

Remind us to spend quality and quantity time in prayer with quiet reflection, repentance and dedication of our time, resources and talents to Your service. We rest in Your loving, everlasting arms and hide under the shadow of Your wings. We vow to boldly walk in Your ways and to serve at Your pleasure. We thank You for Your provision, which You give to us, even before we get a chance to ask for it.

 

Thought for the Day:

Prayer is not our last offense, it is our first defense.