God Lifts Us Up

God promises to lift up the distressed above those who try to hurt them and to deliver them from violent people (Psalm 18:48). He gathers our tears in His bottle and records them in His journal (Psalm 56:8).

 

He is wearied by the violence in homes and by those who make excuses for choosing to divorce their mate, whom they should be protecting (Malachi 2:16). He has a plan of deliverance for the oppressed.

 

Jesus equates anger without a cause to murder, and He also speaks out against verbal abuse (Matthew 5:21-22). There is comfort in belonging to Christ, comfort in His love and fellowship with His Spirit.

 

God’s comfort makes us tenderhearted, compassionate, single-minded and in one accord with other Believers (Philippians 2:1-2). Our Father God redeems the soul of the afflicted from deceit and violence.

 

Our Father gives us hope and a secure future (Jeremiah 29:11). Our blood is precious in His sight (Psalm 72:14). He brings down the haughty, evil person and saves the afflicted from our troubles (2 Samuel 22:28).

 

As we trust in Him for our salvation, not only from sin, but also from neglect and abuse, He leads us by His Spirit to respond to life with faith in His faithfulness.

 

We focus our thoughts and attention only on what is accurate, honorable and factual. We think about things that are holy and uplifting, and we dwell only on the fulfilling, virtuous things in others (Philippians 4:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You tell the church to bear one another burdens and to comfort each other (Galatians 6:2). We encourage each other in our times of distress (Hebrews 12:12). You make things right and provide the afflicted with a refuge from oppression and trouble (Psalm 9:9; 103:6). You comfort the downcast in our affliction (2 Corinthians 1:4, 7:6). We praise You for and rejoice about both the good and the bad circumstances in our life (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

 

You call each of us to encourage one another and to bear one another’s burdens (2 Corinthians 7:7). By doing this, we actually fulfill Your law (Galatians 6:2). You call the strong to overlook the failings of the weak, and not to hold it against them (Romans 15:1). We love our neighbor with the same intensity that we love our self, and with the same affection by which You love us (Galatians 5:14).

 

Thought for the Day:
God cares about the abused and the oppressed and He does not look down upon the mistreated; but He abhors our affliction and promises not to hide His face from us; when we cry out to Him, He champions our cause.

– Psalm 22:24, 140:12

 

 

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A Good Marriage – Date Nights

For our 15th Anniversary, I asked my former husband to get me a boyfriend. I was attempting to use humor to communicate to him that I felt lonely in our marriage. I actually hoped that he would volunteer to be that boyfriend.

 

However, we had so many unresolved conflicts in our marriage that he did not see the humor in this request. There were way too many resentments that built up a thick wall between us.

 

The only topic we had to talk about was our three children. Most of our conversations were flat and filled with disagreements. There were concerns on both our hearts that we were reluctant to share with one another. From our different focal points, we saw the same events in our life from two totally different perspectives.

 

We attempted to start a restaurant, but over-extended our self financially; and the house of cards we erected in both the restaurant and our marriage eventually fell apart. He saw no option for us but divorce, which left both of us feeling abandoned and abused.

 

About two years later, God blessed me with a new man in my life. He makes an honest effort to dwell with me with understanding and to shower me with focused attention. I provide him with needed verbal affirmation, admiration and a virtually stress-free home life.

 

We never let the sun go down on hurt feelings. We keep a couples’ journal, and take turns writing out our feelings in non-judgmental and uncondemning words. Then we responded to each other by writing back in the journal. This keeps out negative emotions that could escalate into arguments.

 

We have always worked well together in the ministry, and we actually enjoy each other’s company. We take turns deciding what to do on our “date” nights. We always schedule them into our shared calendar, so that we can look forward to them.

 

We jealously guard this special time as a couple. We do not have much discretionary income, so we plan simple dates: watching a movie on TV after putting the kids to bed, star gazing on the hill near our home, sharing a milk shake at the local restaurant, sunning on a blanket at the local beach or strolling along the water’s edge, sitting in lawn chairs in the backyard and reading the latest book that intrigues us, walking through the mall holding hands and window shopping, perusing an antique store (a free museum), going thrift store shopping to find inexpensive treasures and clothing, exploring small towns around our home, etc.

 

During our dates, we talk about everything on our heart, laugh, cry, and make plans together. Over the years, this practice allowed us to bond in a love relationship that has stood the test of time and all of the trials of our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for keeping me safe during my return to single living and then for providing a man that is willing to meet my needs with selfless humility and understanding. We appreciate You for keeping us together through the storms that Satan devised to tear us apart. We love serving You together with every ounce of our energy and each moment of time in our life.

 

Thank You for allowing our relationship to be an example for other couples, and for using us to help to prevent others from going through the trauma of divorce. We give You all the praise and glory for our marital success as we move toward twenty-five years of anniversaries; and we rely on You to continue to use us as a couple to further Your Kingdom in the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

Together, we learned to guard our date night, to prefer one another in our decisions, and never to make a choice without first checking with how each of us feels about it. This keeps us on the same page throughout our marriage and allows us to walk in the wisdom and counsel of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Fitly Joined Together

The nation of Israel is a perfect example of God’s people who try, in the power of their flesh, to live for God (Hebrews 8:7-9). They occasionally made great strides, but they constantly failed to keep the law.

 

We have no more success than they did in obeying God’s Word on our own. We fail just as miserably to keep the letter of God’s law without the power of His Spirit within us.

 

However, as we rely on our triune God, He sanctifies us through our union with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2,30), the washing of the water of His Word (Ephesians 5:26) and our obedience to His precepts (Hebrews 12:14; 2 Timothy 2:21-22).

 

We are the sons of God (1 John 3:2), members of Christ’s Body who are fitly joined together (Romans 12:5), and filled with the fruit of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We do not work for God, but Christ lives and works in and through us (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 2:10).

 

Our justification, sanctification and glorification are not obtained through our human effort, but by the work of our triune God within us (Titus 3:5). The Trinity works in us as individuals and as the united Body of Christ (John 13:35; Ephesians 4:11-12).

 

Our Father God provides our sanctification (Hebrews 8:10-12; Philippians 2:12-13), Jesus is the hope of our glorification (Ephesians 5:26), and the Spirit does the work of sanctification within us (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

 

As we mature in Christ, we are examples to the world of Agape love, because we abide in Christ and His divinity dwells within us (John 15:4-5). This allows us to make disciples of those in our sphere of influence (Matthew 28:19-20).

 

Before we were ever born, God planned what gifts and ministries He would give to us to use for His Kingdom (Ephesians 2:20). He joined the Body together so that each joint would supply what is needed for the healthy function of the whole (Ephesians 4:16).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You shower us with Your blessings so magnificently that we cannot count them all. We so enjoy walking in Your Spirit and living with Your presence within us (Galatians 2:20). You give to us so that we will have the ability to meet the needs of everyone You bring into our life (Matthew 10:8).

 

You meet all of our needs physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and allow us to bring this same healing and supply to others. We rejoice that we are members of Your Body and that we can supply our part so that the Body is healthy and whole.

 

Thought for the Day:

The more we abide in Christ, we deeper we realize the security and blessings of our position and promise in Him.

 

 

I Thought That I Did Not Matter

As a trauma victim, I learned fear and insecurity, which controlled my thoughts, emotions, behavior, and my life. I disassociated from the pain of the trauma and buried the memories deep within my subconscious mind.

 

Although the memories were separated from my conscious mind, the effects of them continued to scream inside my head. They affected my body, soul and spirit throughout much of my lifetime.

 

I felt powerless to control my life; and therefore, I went along with the flow. Actually believing that I deserved abuse, I abused myself and allowed others to abuse me. I turned into a Class-A codependent, enabling others and depriving myself.

 

I accepted destructive behavior that affected my life in so many ways, and I taught others to treat me this way by allowing this conduct to perpetuate throughout much of my lifetime.

 

As a teenager, I noticed that my father effectively used anger to control events in his life; so I emulated his attitude and behavior. I started to take a stand for myself. I blamed my anger on my heritage as an Italian. Of course, this escalated my problems and never reaped positive responses (James 1:20).

 

When I went to college, I repented of my sins and asked Jesus to save me and to fill me with Himself (John 3:16-17); so I allowed even more abuse into my life. I thought that if I served others, then God would send others to serve me.

 

This never occurred. I just delved deeper into codependence, caretaking and submission even when someone else’s decisions affected me adversely. I actually believed that others mattered, but I did not.

 

I continued to allow others to treat me in demeaning and uncaring ways. I did not expect to be loved this side of heaven, as I needed love; and I learned to take whatever little scraps of affection or attention others were willing to give me, even if I had to ask for them.

 

When I exhausted my soul by attempting to be the savior of my world, I reverted back to erupting into an ineffective, angry tirade that drove a wedge between me and those who were supposed to help me to care for my needs.

 

Thankfully, when I turned 45, God sent me to work for a recovering codependent, who counseled me on mending from the negative traits of this terrible disease. This allowed me to embark on a healing journey to self-discovery and care that transformed my life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I grew up as a caretaker for everyone I met; attempting to solve their problems for them, even if it meant that I suffered physically, mentally, emotionally or financially because of it. I took care of everyone, but myself. Thank You that You never gave up on me. You brought the right people into my life at the right time. You taught me to firmly and resolutely put the brakes on those who treated me as an appendage to their life with no rights and privileges of my own.

 

Unfortunately, my healing attitude and behavior brought insecurity and fear into the lives of some of those around me. They reacted in various ways, but some rejected me because they assumed I was going to reject them. However, You used these events to bring authentic Believers in Christ into my life (Romans 8:28).  They actually knew the meaning of unconditional love, and together we learned the benefit of Interdependence. We have flourished in Your love within us ever since.

 

Thought for the Day:
As a codependent, I had no sense of identity, boundaries or autonomy. I was not able to say, “No”; so I said, “Yes” to every request. I ended up drowning in the enmeshed and destructive relationships I gravitated toward; because I had no internal compass, until the love of Christ brought healing into my life.

 

 

Living in the Kingdom of God

I was amazed when I read that God lit the original fire on the brazen altar. That is why the Israelites carried coals with them from that fire in all of their wanderings, and the priests kept the fire lit at all times (Leviticus 9:24).

 

As we bring an acceptable offering to God, He consumes it with His holy fire, and we too rejoice in His pleasure and we fall on our face with humility and thanksgiving.

 

The Word of God clearly states that the Kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). His Kingdom is not about the tangible physical aspects of life, but about our spiritual passion resulting from God moving into our spirit.

 

So often, we lose persistence, hope and confidence in our ministry for the Lord. We allow the passion of our fire for God to go out, and we end up forfeiting the promised rewards that come with serving Him (Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 10:35).

 

Yet, as we learn to walk in God’s Spirit each moment of the day, rather than in our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25), we exhibit God’s mercy to those in our home, neighborhood, workplace and church as God gives us an opportunity to do so.

 

When we seek first God’s Kingdom and pleasure rather than our own advancement and desires, we keep His holy fire lit within our heart (1 Peter 2:5-9; Matthew 6:33).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave us a simple job to do: to be light and salt in the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). This is impossible, however, without Your Spirit dwelling within us, perfecting us and enabling us to be ready in season and out of season to do Your will (2 Timothy 4:2), to preserve Your truth in the midst of sinful humanity, and to share Your light in a world of darkness.

 

Help us to make Your Kingdom our priority in our life, rather than to chase selfish ambitions that serve no heavenly purpose. Remind us that selfish pursuits are wood, hay and stubble and will burn up in the end (1 Corinthians 3:12); but what we do for Your Kingdom is lasting and provides us with rewards that last for eternity.

 

Thought for the Day:

The most powerful force in the world is a heart on fire for God, seeking only His will for every thought, word and deed; we make eternal pursuits our priority since we are merely sojourners on this earth. – 1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Chronicles 29:14-16

Conversations with God

God invites us to converse with Him, and our heart thrills that the Creator calls us to come (Psalm 27:8). There are no special words to use, formulas to follow or rote prayer to recite. We simply speak to Him from our heart.

 

Well-constructed sentences, flowery words or a pious voice inflection are not necessary. God loves us in our authentic state, just the way we are. He cherishes our time alone with Him (Isaiah 49:16; Ephesians 5:28-29).

 

As we pray without ceasing, we do not always use words (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We quietly listen to His Spirit’s directives for each moment of our day and we follow them.

 

God even loves sharing companionable silences with us. We spend most of our time praising Him for what He already provided, which builds up our faith to trust in His faithfulness for our provision for the future.

 

The Trinity does not want anyone to reject His call to come (John 3:18; 2 Peter 3:9). He desires that we all forsake our wicked ways and to submit our thoughts to His. He wants everyone to return to Him for His blessings (John 3:16-18).

 

If we will, He will have compassion on us and abundantly pardon all of our transgressions (Isaiah 55:6-7). As we bring everything to God in prayer, with a thankful heart, we have no need to worry about anything (Philippians 4:6).

 

He is capable of guarding our hearts and our minds, and of providing all of our necessities (Philippians 4:6-7). As we stay in tune to Him, God will continue to supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are just waiting for us to give You the opportunity to have compassion on us. You are the God of justice, and we are blessed when we long for You with our whole heart (Isaiah 30:18). You hear the voice of Your beloved Saints and You honor our requests. You even bend down Your ear to hear us.

 

We have no excuse not to converse with You all day and every day of our life (Psalm 116:1-2). Thank You for longing to be gracious to us. We desire to walk in all of Your ways, to love You with all of our heart and soul, to serve You with all of our strength, and to keep Your commandments, which You provide for our safety and well-being (Deuteronomy 10: 12-13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Never start a day without first saturating it in prayer, because this shows God that we reverence Him, trust in His love for us, and have confidence in His ability to provide for us.

 

 

God is All I Need

The love of God is enough. Period. We do not need any person, place or thing to complete our life. We are complete in Christ, regardless of who or what we have or do not have in our life (Colossians 2:10).

 

Not having what we perceive as our perfect life is what causes us to strive to obtain what we think we need. The only striving that God suggests that we participate in as His children, is to strive to enter His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

If we are not Born Again by God’s Spirit, we will always have a God-shaped hole in our life, which is causing an insatiable appetite to want more. Our spirit is dead in sin, and we are not yet complete.

 

Total surrender to Jesus Christ is the only antidote. However, if we are an authentic, Born Again Believer, and we are striving for more of this world, then we just need an attitude adjustment.

 

If we do not have what we want, this means that God does not think that we need it at this time. I hate to think of my brothers and sisters in Christ as lonely and suffering. I know how this feels, because I have been there.

 

God taught me many lessons from my trials. One is that we find fulfillment by focusing on Christ in us, not on His benefits. We love Him, not for what He does for us, but because He loves us (1 John 4:19).

 

After I leaned on Him through my trials, God wrote a new chapter for my life in His way and in His timing; and He will do the same for you. Until He did, though, I focused on developing a deeper relationship with Christ in me.

 

When we let go of our desires, and focus instead on Christ in us, our life floods with peace and joy. I realized that when God decided that I needed something, He provided it for me in His timing and way, even if it was at the last minute.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I am thankful for my trials, because they taught me to go deeper in You to walk through them. You taught me to stop quoting scriptures at You in order to claim Your promises. I mistakenly thought that this would somehow make You feel obligated to give me what I wanted, when I wanted it.

 

This carnal attempt to twist Your arm to work on my behalf never changed my circumstances. You do not respond to manipulation. In fact, I learned that You are already working on our behalf, we just do not appreciate what You have already done; and what You are doing in us, for us and through us right now. We praise You for who You are and not only for what You do for us. Remind us to take the time to count our blessings, and to enter into Your joy (Matthew 25:23).

 

Thought for the Day:
When we sit alone, we are never lonely, as long as God’s Spirit resides within our spirit (Psalm 46:10). We have fulfilling alone (all-one) times with Christ in us, as He fills us with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19).