A Christ-centered Focus

 

Paul proclaimed that allowing God to work through Him, and walking by the Spirit’s direction, is the only way to live (Acts 20:24). In my many years of living, I came to this same conclusion.

 

The results of changing our focus and attitude from a self-centered one to a Christ-centered one is absolutely freeing. We worry, stress-out, get sick and walk around in a bad mood less than if we focus on our self (Galatians 6:9).

 

Not that we should neglect our self, because this brings on a whole new set of issues. However, when we concentrate only on our own feelings, goals and dreams, rather than focusing on the Lord’s will for us, we drown in negative emotions.

 

When we live for our self, our mediocre relationship with God flattens, becomes monotonous and lacks passion and inspiration. Yet, as we walk in His perfect will, we cannot wait to see what the next day brings. We sing a new song to Him from our heart all day long.

 

God has a perfect plan for each unique life, and living in His will is the happiest place on earth (Ephesians 2:10). God’s Spirit teaches us to trust Him implicitly; and as we do, our faith grows, our spirit matures, and our love for Him renews.

 

We live in awe of His bountiful provision, which causes us to spend most of our time delighting in His steadfast love for us, and for His marvelous works in our life.

 

We grow discontent with anything that arises in our life that is not His perfect will for us. We come to the place that we refuse to settle for less than His best for us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we follow Your will for our life, we walk in obedience to Your w ill as it effortlessly develops during our day. We consult You before we do anything, and we follow Your peace in every decision and activity in which we get involved (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

We constantly find our self in the right place, at the right time, doing the right work in order to advance Your Kingdom in the earth.  Whether we are a stay-at-home parent, a CEO of a major company, a retailer, teacher, clergy, skilled labor, garbage collector, etc., we do it all for Your praise and glory (1 Corinthians 10:31-33).

 

Thought for the Day:

God has an individualized design for each of His Saints; and when we choose to walk in His ways, and to accomplish His will for each moment of our day, we find true peace and deep, indescribable joy that put wings on our feet, a smile on our lips and a song in our heart.

 

A Good Marriage – What Really Matters

Valuing our mate will change the way we see their idiosyncrasies. We will have more patience with them, and change our focus about how their foibles affect us.

 

Cherishing him/her will endear them to us for life. We can plan our actions and our words to say, “I love you” all day long. The joy we felt while dating multiplies over the years of our marriage.

 

Any relationship takes work: parent – child, husband – wife, employer – employee, etc. Since we see each other every day, we tend to take one another for granted and forget to do the little things that improve our relationship.

 

Emotional disconnect occurs when we fail to connect physically with quality time on a regular basis. We may destroy one another with our words, attitude and actions. Complaints, criticism, angry words, and taking one another for granted will destroy our love for each other.

 

We all need verbal affirmation, but men need it daily. They crave the sympathy, nurturing, understanding and adulation that their mother used to give them. Verbal affirmation goes a long way in cementing our marital ties.

 

We plan and make time in our busy schedules to relax together, have fun and share our deepest thoughts and fear. When we are too busy for each other, we grow apart more and more each day.

 

Spending focused time as a couple and a family helps us to bond more intimately. Families are not disposable. The grass really is not any greener on the other side of the fence; and anyway, the fence is still there.

 

Prayer:

Father God, please remind us that distance grows in relationships unless we stay connected as we grow older together, bond with our souls rather than drifting apart, make one another a priority and realize that meeting our mate’s needs is as important to them and to us as meeting our own needs.

 

Help us to see that in a good marriage we make time each week for both mates to bond with people of our same sex. Some people need this more than others do. Remind us that even if we enjoy time with our spouse, doing things separately with friends gives us space and time to enjoy hobbies that our spouse does not enjoy. It also gives us time to really miss each other.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we work out our marital issues in a manner that is agreeable to everyone, we set an example for future generations and everyone around us.

 

 

 

 

The Name of Jesus

The name of Jesus is above every other name and there is no one like Him (Jeremiah 10:6; Philippians 2:9-11; Jeremiah 10:6). His Truth entails secrets that were hidden in times past; but are now plain for us to see (1 Corinthians 2:7).

 

He willingly sacrificed His life as a ransom for all of our sins, and for this we love, praise, honor, worship and adore Him all the days of our life.

 

We wait patiently for the Lord, enjoying His frequent times of companionable silence. He lifts us out of the miry pit of circumstances and sets our feet on firm, high places (Psalm 40:1-2).

 

We give Him praise with the new songs that He puts into our heart; and we extol and honor His name above every other name given both on earth and in Heaven (Psalm 40:3).

 

Signs and wonders, healing and deliverance are ours only by His holy name (Acts 4:30; Mark 16:17). If we repent and are baptized in His name, He forgives us of our sins and we will receive His Spirit as our Comforter and Guide (Acts 2:38).

 

Our faith in His name gives us healing and strength (Acts 3:12-16). If we ask for anything that we need to accomplish His work in and through our life, Jesus asks the Father for it on our behalf (John 14:14, 16:26).

 

The name of Jesus is a strong tower, and the righteous find safety and provision in it (Proverbs 18:10). We receive healing in His wonderful name (Acts 3:6).

 

We are justified in the name of Jesus and by the workings of His Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11). The members of the Trinity are our wonderful counselor, our everlasting Father, our Prince of peace, and our might God (Isaiah 9:6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You call us all to come to You for our daily bread, for safety from temptation, to deliver us from evil, and to forgive us of our iniquities as we forgive those who intrude upon our life. Your Word holds mysteries that we can understand only by the wisdom of Your Holy Spirit within us.

 

Help us to respond to You with humility, and to praise You for meeting our needs, according to Your abundant love and wisdom. Stir up in us a hunger for Your Word, for more intimacy with You, and for walking in Your ways. All day long we meditate on Your glory and splendor, and we spend our days worshipping You in the beauty of Your holiness (Psalm 96:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is eternal salvation only through the name of Jesus, and we extol the Lord as our King; therefore, we bless His name forever and ever, we bless Him with our actions, and we praise Him with our lips for His greatness and unsearchable wisdom, which He shares with us every day of our life. – Acts 4:12; Psalm 145:1-3

 

Knowing God

The Bible says that we will find our heart where we find our treasure. The person, place, thing, pet, vocation, cause or deity, that defines who we are, is our greatest treasure.

We are intimately involved with this cherished person, entity, concept or thing. We are guilty of doing anything possible, even stooping to sinful behavior, in order to increase this relationship.

We think that we are fulfilled in this world; but in actuality, our soul – our feelings, priorities and thoughts – finds true rest and hope in God alone (Psalm 62:5). Everything and everyone else is simply a shadow of reality.

Sadly, many people enter eternity without ever experiencing God’s love, presence, guidance and blessings. Sometimes, it is because no one ever told them about Jesus, but more often it is because they reject His simple Truth of salvation.

As authentic Believers, Christ abides within us by His Spirit. This union is more cherished than any we can ever experience, and brings us true fulfillment and peace.

Christ knew us prior to our conception, and even before the Trinity formed the world. (Psalm 139:13; Ephesians 1:4). No human being knows us that intimately and completely (Psalm 37:4).

This intimate bond comes when we admit that we are a sinner and that we need Jesus as our Savior (Ephesians 2:1). Once we accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice, He raises us from eternal death, to everlasting life.

Walking continually in the presence of our Lord and following the leading of His Spirit is without a doubt the most fulfilling experience this life offers to us.

Prayer:

Father God, teach us how to entirely surrender our life to You, to walk in Your ways, and to live according to Your purpose for our life (Ephesians 2:10). In Your presence is the only place where we can find complete fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Christ in us never fails us, never leaves us, never forsakes us, and never lets us down (Hebrews 13:5). Remind us that we can share with You all of our concerns, fears, rejection, abuse and deprivation. You care about every minute of our life. You are our friend who intimately sticks closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Thought for the Day:

When we come to Christ, He continually delivers us from our old carnal nature, because we are born again into Christ’s life; we are hidden with Jesus in God – Colossians 3:1-3

 

A Grateful Attitude

I can think of only a few issues in life that are worse than being swallowed by a whale. Yet, as soon as Jonah praised God for his horrific circumstances, God delivered him by having the whale deposit him on dry ground (Johan 2:9-10).

 

My dad had a bad heart attack; and for a year after that event, He begged God to take him home to Heaven. One night at supper, he asked my mom, “Why won’t God answer my prayer?”

 

She calmly advised, “I think it may be because you are demanding from God, rather than saying, ‘Lord, I accept Your will in this.”

 

That night she heard him in his room singing songs about “not my will, Lord, but yours be done.” The next morning on her way to church, she checked on my dad, and he was sleeping.

 

When she returned from the church service, she checked on him again, and he had not changed positions, which was unusual for him. She checked him closer and realized his body was very cold.

 

The Lord heard my dad’s surrendered hymns and took him home as he sang. What an awesome God we serve. It really is amazing what praising will do for us and in us.

 

God will deliver you and me from our negative circumstances too. The key for deliverance is to be joyful and grateful to God regardless of what is occurring in our life.

 

Jesus lives, moves and has His being in us and never, ever leaves or forsakes us (Acts 17:28; Hebrews 13:5). Our behavior may cause a rift in our relationship with God; but He is always there, even when His back is turned to our sinful practices (Psalm 22:1).

 

Of course, the logical solution to this problem is to live in righteousness. By the power of God’s Spirit within us, we reject all of the devil’s temptations to sin.

 

Living each moment in the presence of, and in praise to our mighty God will lead us to redemption, regardless of the facets of our current existence. Our Father always knows best .

 

Prayer:

Father God, our hearts overflow with grateful praises to You. We refuse to allow Satan to tempt us to complain, so that we will remain in our awful, negative circumstances. We know that praising You is our hot air balloon ride to better times.

 

We praise You for Your deliverance from the huge events that attempt to steal our joy, but we also praise You for the myriad of little blessings that You provide for us each and every day. Thank You for putting a new song in our heart and for Your bountiful provision for all of our needs.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we repent of our sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved from eternal damnation; and we reflect the glory of the Lord in our body, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

– 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Between Two Extremes

Life often careens back and forth between two extremes. We are either bored or excited, angry or forgiving, frazzled or peaceful, etc. Walking in God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25) prevents us from bouncing back and forth between these excesses.

 

At work, we push our self to excel, attempting to give a stellar and perfect performance. However, we are myopic in our focus and often fail to see the big picture, because these attitudes eventually hinder our achievement.

 

When we push our self to achieve goals that God did not inspire or anoint us to accomplish, we often spin our wheels and encounter countless road blocks causing stress and unfulfillment.

 

When we neglect our own soul, we get discouraged and tired because our soul is sick within us. We need holy and healthy play time to relax and unplug from our routine in order to maintain a healthy soul.

 

If we have compulsions and obsessions such as: codependency or perfectionism, we may end up feeling neglected, shamed and defeated, which all interrupt our flow of productivity.

 

God’s Spirit enables us to overcome our anxiety, doubts, concerns, worries and fears – those in our conscious mind, as well as those latent feelings tucked away in our subconscious mind.

 

Taking a frequent and fearless inventory of our spirit, soul and body helps us to restore balance and to focus on God’s will for each moment of our day.

 

We are also able to stop and smell the roses, smile at a stranger, help a child or senior citizen, take part in community events, watch a movie or sports game, and enjoy whatever divine appointments God brings our way.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are often our own worst enemy. The negative self-talk that we listen to in our mind all day long will ruin our balance and industriousness as it side-tracks our efforts. Communicating with You in prayer and initiating chat sessions with our best friend is useful if we are not sure how to get back on track.

 

Help us to create new habits and rituals to help our forward process in following Your will. Remind us that making a detailed and intentional list of what You tell us during our prayer time will facilitate our progress as we consult Your Spirit each time a new direction changes our forward movement. We love and honor You and look forward to walking solely in Your will each moment of our day.

 

Thought for the Day:

The ”good things” we do with our life often become the enemy of the “best things,” because they tie us into knots and overwhelm us; yet, the best things are God-inspired and spirit-led and bring us to a place of deep peace and everlasting joy.

 

 

 

 

The Demon of Perfectionism

We often think of demons as fiery little dragon-like beings that entice us to sin. However, demons can appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). They do not always promote sinister behavior, but can also attempt to sidetrack and overwhelm us. They drive us to distraction, so we have little time to obey God

 

Many people consider perfectionism as a virtue. We strive to bring order from chaos and to attain to more than the status quo. We drive our self and everyone around us to reach perfection in every area of life.

 

We know what we want and how we want the events in our life to play out. Therefore, we often get disappointed with unsatisfactory results and behavior from our self and others, pointing out what could have been improved or done differently.

 

Our standards are too high and usually unreachable. We under-value and criticize our self and others, and we fail to appreciate that we and others did our very best.

 

We attempt to live up to the world’s standards as well, and we expect perfection from our self and everyone else. Unfortunately, human beings are never perfect; therefore, we soon get disillusioned, resentful and sometimes even angry with no real cause.

 

If we could realize that all of us are fallible, diverse, opinionated and unpredictable, this change in our concepts would enable us to accept a job well done, even if it is not perfect according to demon-inspired ideals.

 

When we take a stand against the demon of perfectionism, we start to see beauty in the normal, and to live with less stress in our life – which is actually killing us. We start to breathe deeply and enjoy our life and the people in it.

 

We see magnificence in our differences, abilities and mistakes; and our patience grows and does its perfect work in our life (James 1:-8). We learn to consult the Lord in every endeavor and to follow His plans for our life, rather than our own (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your works are perfect; but due to Adam’s sinful fall, the universe is hindered from living up to Your plan and expectations for us all. Paradise was perfect, and we will live in Your perfect new heaven and earth when You return to take up Your authority over the earth again.

 

Until then, help us to tolerate differences, to accept that our current life on this earth is less than perfect, and to realize that Satan drives our need for perfection in order to limit our usefulness to You and Your Kingdom. Help us to see the beauty in imperfections in our self, others and the world around us.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we practice letting go of our drive toward perfectionism, we start to relax and enjoy our self, others and life in general; we gain a deeper sense of ease in who we are, and we stop expecting our self and others to do more than our best.

 

Melancholy Personality – Deliverance Is Possible

A melancholy person is deliberate in the way we think. We consider and reconsider every side of every situation, event and upcoming responsibilities in order to feel safe.

 

We do not talk very much and deliberate over our words most of the time before we speak them. We rehearse what we want to say and polish it over and over before we actually say what is on our mind – often having trouble finding the right words to express our self.

 

We conduct business with deliberation and forethought. We work slowly, but carefully to do the best job we can. We do not like to be rushed, because we like everything to unfold decently and in order.

 

We despise the limelight and do not require recognition and honor; although, at the same time, we do not like to be overlooked, and we appreciate a pat on the back for a job well done.

 

We do not enjoy being the brunt of a joke either, because we end up with hurt feelings. We need to learn to laugh at our self, but this is easier said than done.

 

Melancholy people prefer others above our self, and end up feeling abused. We find our self enabling people rather than allowing everyone to live up to their own responsibilities.

 

Possessive of our belongings and family, we are reluctant to lend our things or to share our time with our loved ones with other people. We fear someone will be careless and irresponsible with our prized possessions.

 

God’s Spirit is the only one that can truly deliver us from the self-imposed prison in which we enshrine our self. We want to stay safe, but end up isolating our self and missing out on God’s blessings in our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we melancholies have many good qualities, but we are overly emotional and feel the smallest slight very deeply. You created us to feel emotion strongly, and to admire beauty very intensely. We are also prime candidates for attacks from the demon of perfectionism. Help us to stop internalizing our emotions and then exploding when they build up to a feverish pitch.

 

Teach us to allow Your Spirit to replace our negative attributes with Your fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), so that we exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith rather than our timidity and overly sensitive nature. Replace our tendency to hold grudges with Your willingness to forgive – giving others the same mercy that You give to us.

 

Thought for the Day:

As a melancholy personality, we are lead by God to submit to His Spirit and to allow His fruit to dominate our personality and reactions to life.

 

Power in Praise

With each sunrise, God’s authentic Believers sing to Him a new song, worshipping Him and praising His name. We proclaim the way of His salvation to those in our family, workplace, community, city, state, country and the whole world (Psalm 96:1-2).

 

We declare His marvelous works to everyone who will listen, because He is so great that we want everyone to know it. We respect, honor and revere Him above worldly deities, which are actually only human idols (Psalm 96:3-4).

 

God made heaven and earth, and His splendor, majesty and glory are found in His presence (Psalm 96:5-6). In every moment of our day, we pour out our heart in worship and thanksgiving for all that He does for us.

 

He displays His glory in the beauty all around us; and if we are too distracted by the demands and the routine details of our life, we will miss His gifts to us throughout the day.

 

These moments of God’s glorious declarations of love for us are precious and personalized. What He uses to speak to me are different than what He uses to convey His love to you.

 

Of course, His Spirit and His Word are common to us all, but He will use our favorite things and beloved Biblical verses to speak to us individually. He is eager to shower us with His mercy and grace, salvation and redemption, as well as His peace and joy.

 

Let us commit to minimize our lists of duties, hobbies, and vocational activities, in order to lessen our stress, burdens, and the hectic events, so that we have more time to worship God and to serve at the pleasure of our King Jesus.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we exalt You above all gods and the idols created by human resources. Humans deify mere mortals who are dead in graves and not worthy of our praise. Remind us to fix our focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:-3), in order to enjoy Your serenity, stability and symmetry throughout all of our days.

 

Remind us to balance our schedule to include times with You as we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We want to make prayer our priority, and we will use Your Word as the context of our times of worshipping You. Prompt us to journal our thoughts and feelings from the depth of our heart in order to rid our subconscious of the burden of carrying them around in our soul.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is our strength and our shield, our hope and our salvation; He showers us with personal touches of His love, joy and peace to bless us throughout the moments of our life. – Psalm 28:7

 

The Sovereign Wisdom of God

The more that we give our self over to a depraved mind, the less likely we are to hear the still, small voice of God calling us to Himself. He has a perfect plan for our life without the consequences of the ravages of sin.

 

We forfeit those blessings by our unbelief in the incomprehensible goodness of God. We buy into the lies planted by the devil in the philosophies and perverted truth of this world. We sell our self short of the glories God has for us.

 

Others exploit the blessings of God to fulfill their carnal, selfish ambition (Romans 1:18-26). They hire on in ministry positions in God’s Church and take advantage of the generosity of God’s Saints.

 

Some people refuse to live by faith and demand that God prove Himself to them. Their mind is filled with vain ideologies taught to them by other human beings. They cannot see or understand the secret things of God; and, therefore, they refuse to trust Him with their life (Deuteronomy 29:29).

 

In His wisdom, God often hides the full glory of His infinite purpose in order to protect us from our finite self. He withholds healing at times, like He did with Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”. He also kept the book of Daniel sealed (Daniel 12:4) until these last days, when we really need that information.

 

In our glorious stature in Heaven, we will not see in part any longer (1 Corinthians 13:12), but we will comprehend the full blessing of serving at the pleasure of our King Jesus.

 

As we mature spiritually, our intimacy with God increases. We personally behold the enormity of His incomprehensible ways and humbly submit to the leading of His Spirit for each moment of our day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we grow in our intimacy with You, our convictions get stronger and we rarely if ever doubt Your goodness – especially once we realize that You plant a seed for a miracle in every trial. You reveal the mysteries of Your wisdom to us a little more each day, affirming our relationship with You and leading us by Your Holy Spirit.

 

Thank You so much for establishing a personal relationship with each of Your Saints, so that we can know You more each day. Help us to focus on You and Your will for our life. Your will rarely makes human sense, but always amazes us in the accuracy of Your Spirit’s guidance. We give You all of the praise and honor due to Your name and we rejoice in the goodness of Your ways.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we mature spiritually, our intimacy with God increases as we behold the enormity of His incomprehensible ways; we humbly fall on our face in amazement that He called us and deigns to spend time with each of us continually throughout the day. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18