Serving Our Loving Father

God created us as a triune being with a body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). In our soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices – we have three ego states commonly known as our Inner Parent, Adult and Child.

 

King David understood this when he quieted and calmed His soul like a weaned child within him (Psalm 131:2). Our child-like faith is what enables us to dwell with God forever (Matthew 18:2-4).

 

Our soul is the most overlooked aspect of our human make-up.  God gave us thoughts to express our emotions in order to communicate our honest feelings with other human beings.

 

However, we often ignore the needs of our body, soul and spirit, because of the demands that our busy schedule puts on us. Negative emotions are red flags to alert us when there is an issue in our soul that needs our attention.

 

We rarely pay attention, however, because we bombard our life with useless trivia and concerns, and we consult social media more that we chat with God.

 

Most of the people living on this earth see God as a restrictive task master, and they do not want to hear the preaching of His Word or to have friends that proclaim the name of Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:3).

 

The tragedy of this viewpoint is that it is a ploy from Satan to keep people from experiencing for themselves the bountiful benevolence of our protective Father.

 

God does not want us to reap the consequences of our sin; therefore, He provided Jesus to take our punishment. He also gave us His Word to direct our paths away from destructive behavior.

 

As we sit still before the Lord each day, listening for the direction of His Spirit, we hear His reassuring voice comforting us as we benefit from His loving care (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for forgiving our unfaithfulness. We get so distracted by life that we abandon You for hours at a time. Instead, if we walk in Your Spirit, You enable us to bear more fruit for Your Kingdom. You give us everything we need to live a productive life (1 Corinthians 4:7). All of our talents and abilities come from You alone.

 

Many people fear losing friends if they commit their life to You. They do not realize that they will actually gain truer and a greater number of friends, family really, than they ever thought possible. These people will spend eternity with us, so our time together now is merely a prelude to the wonderful concert You prepared for those of us who love You (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

The work of the righteous is peaceable, and our service to our King gives us confidence and peace forever; no criticism makes us less, and no acclaim makes us more than we are in Christ; we do not rely on the praise of men or on human ideals of success, but we give our loving Father the glory for who we are, for all that we have, and for what we accomplish.

– Isaiah 32:17

 

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A Good Marriage – Key Ingredients for a Fulfilled Union

Our focus in our marriage is one of the key ingredients for a fulfilled union. The devil makes sure that we focus on the negative attributes of our mate, and that we entertain those thoughts in our mind.

We criticize one another for our habits that annoy us. We forget to show our appreciation to each other, especially for those tiny things that we rarely notice anymore. This causes us to disparage one another and to feel unhappy and dissatisfied rather than content and joyful.

The enemy of a fulfilled union is unfulfilled expectations. We all have them – that is only human. However, if we mainly focus on our disappointments, and express them or concentrate on them exclusively, we will destroy the good will in our relationship.

Instead of concentrating on the negative, we can accentuate the positive. We start by making a list of a dozen aspects of our mate’s personality, character and actions, for which we are truly grateful.

Include on the list, the little things that we often take for granted. Write down the character and personality traits that we admire about them. Then, mention these in conversations, send emails or leave notes at random times expressing our admiration of these positive qualities.

Offering to help our spouse is another key ingredient to a fulfilled marriage. We may increase our work load, but it will lighten theirs. We are also able to spend more time together doing what needs to get done.

Baking a favorite pie, watching a TV show that our mate enjoys, emptying the trash without being asked, ironing those tiresome shirts, helping to cook dinner or wash dishes or laundry will go a long way in promoting love between us.

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that Satan is always available to point out to us our mate’s faults, and to discourage us from showing love, mercy and compassion to him/her on a regular basis. Help us to see the good qualities he/she has and to compliment him/her often in order to encourage him/her and to promote our unity.

Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the good that our mate does, rather than to focus on the negative issues that glare at us every day. Help us to express our appreciation of these positive qualities and behavior, and to build one another up rather than to tear each other down, which drives a wedge between us.

Thought for the Day:

Open communication is so important in a marriage; how will our spouse know if we do not kindly tell him/her that what they did hurt our feelings, or makes us feel unloved, or causes us an extra burden; in return, when they share with us, we can honestly reply by asking for forgiveness for what we have done to offend them.

 

God’s Love Never Fails

Human love is fragile, fickle, fading and disappointing at best. We try to keep love alive, but life gets in the way. Our personalities sabotage our best intentions; and our vows mean little after the hurts we experience mount up.

 

However, God’s love is pure and satisfying (1 John 4:8). Jesus personified that love throughout His life through His obedience as a son, healing the sick, caring for the children, teaching the multitudes, and ultimately suffering the horrifying persecution, crucifixion and death on Calvary’s cross.

 

God’s love is unconditional and never fails. His love is patient, kind, keeps no record of wrong doing, nor does it take pleasure in evil; it is not envious or boastful or proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

 

He never holds grudges against us for our thoughts, words or behavior. He pursues us with His amazing love all the days of our life. Yet, many people never respond in kind, and fail to come to Him in humble repentance and adoration (Jeremiah 31:3).

 

As authentic Believers, our human love is replaced by God’s Spirit with this divine character of God’s love. As He sanctifies us day after day, He heals the trauma of our past and the lies that Satan planted in each event along the way (2 Peter 1:4).

 

This enables us to forgive our self and others, as well as to love our self and those who wounded us in the past. God’s love flows out of us to the world all around us, drawing in the hurting humanity that we meet.

 

If we let go of our bitterness and anger, and stop clinging to temporary earthly possessions and relationships to fill our soul, His love fills in all of the cracks in our life and makes us whole and complete, lacking nothing (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Luke 21:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we struggle most of our life from the results of the wounds of our past. We feel unlovable and never able to measure up. We attempt to perfect our personality and behavior through our human strength in order to gain that love. However, the façade that we construct never stays in place long enough to achieve our goal.

 

Yet, when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to sit on the throne of our life, Your love come flooding into our soul and fills us to overflowing with everything we need to feel whole and complete (Psalm 23:5). Help us to cooperate with Your Spirit’s sanctifying work, so that we can be vessels of Your love, brimming with genuine care for everyone we meet.

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s transforming love heals the effects of rejection, abuse, abandonment, belittlement, etc. that we experience along life’s road; and it overflows in our heart as we feel the ultimate fulfillment that is attainable only through a life in service at the pleasure of our King Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurry Up and Wait

Prior to his death, our dog used to need walking around two in the morning. Thankfully, that is about the time that I usually got sleepy; so we would take a short trip around the yard, and then go to bed.

 

I was blessed with the opportunity to sleep until ten; therefore, I received my required amount of sleep. Yet, I know friends who do not have this luxury.

 

Their sleep is interrupted by the dog needing to go outside, and when they finally fall back to sleep, the alarm blares in their ear to remind them to start their new day.

 

Making breakfast for their family, packing lunches and shuffling children off to the school bus precedes their quick shower and dressing time before they follow their children out the door on their way to work.

 

Then, a whole new set of stresses meet them as they walk through the door at their vocation. Deadlines, appointments, balancing budgets, repairing consumer goods, building, brick laying, serving tables, childcare, patient care, etc. consume the next eight or more hours.

 

Afternoons are taken up by a rush out the door to pick up their children from after school programs, and a quick trip to the grocery store for needed items, before heading home to tackle supper, homework, laundry, and other chores.

 

Exhausted, they fall into bed to repeat the performance from the night before. This only worsens as their children age, and their schedule fills with sports, scouting, swimming, art and music events, and other extra-curricular events squeezed into their afternoon routine.

 

Structured activities may teach children teamwork and enhance their God-given talents, but it prevents them from having the opportunity to find other self-motivated activities that promote leadership, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, as well as creativity and relaxed interaction with friends and neighbors.

 

They are so busy with schoolwork and afterschool events that they cannot relax and enjoy time interacting with their family, as well as God’s beautiful creation.

 

Parents often exacerbate these issues by adding their personal gym time, their own social life and volunteering opportunities to their schedule. Tired and drained, they have little mental, emotional, or physical energy left over to feel fulfilled in their private time or couple time.

 

Anxiety-related illnesses and depression accompany a life too filled with stress. Frustration, grouchiness, irritation, depression, touchiness, etc. seep into their life, and they wonder why they fight so many illnesses.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we know without a doubt that You care about every aspect of our life. We come to You for wisdom and guidance in prioritizing our activities and including time to pray about every activity we schedule (Proverbs 3:5-6). We want to walk in the center of Your will for our life.

 

Help us to avoid stress and to enter Your rest, so that we can deal with unexpected issues that may demand more of us than we are humanly capable of giving. As parents, we often deprive our self of Your peace and rest, and we end up teaching our children to follow suit. Remind us not to rob them of the joy of free playtime with neighborhood friends.

 

Thought for the Day:

The only solution for this sad tale is to prioritize our time, follow the leading of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day, respectfully decline invitations or demands that do not fit into God’s desire for our life, teach our children to accomplish chores at home by helping with the housework, schedule play time each day for self and family, make services with our church family a priority, stop multi-tasking and focus on each moment, eliminate distractions, stop being a slave to the phone and social media; and most importantly, make time to wind down each evening as a prelude to getting quality and an adequate quantity of sleep.

 

 

God in the Valley

God is our Savior in the valley, as well as on the mountaintop. When we feel overwhelmed by life’s issues, spending time alone with God is the perfect place to find rest for our weary soul.

 

Rather than to allow the cares of the world to weigh us down and to give us a negative attitude, we can rest in the love, peace and joy of the Lord through every circumstance.

 

God plants opportunities for rejoicing in every situation He allows. It is all a matter of our focus. Even death, ill health, a bad marriage, and any other negative event has a positive side if we change our focus about it.

 

They say that “every dark cloud has a silver lining”; and God is eager to reveal it to us. We abide in the “quiet place” of our inner spirit, where the Spirit of our Lord and Savior dwells.

 

God’s wants us to walk in His Spirit, but that takes courage. He wants us to learn to forgive our shortcomings, and to use our God given talents and abilities to their fullest measure for His service, as His Spirit directs us through each moment of our day.

 

God has a perfect plan for our lives. As we walk in it, He blesses us abundantly above all that we can ever ask or think (Ephesians 2:10, 3:20-21). While we use the gifts He gave us for His glory, we enjoy His unique calling for our life (1 Corinthians 10:31).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as You open doors for us that no one can close, help us to be all that You made us to be. Help us to willingly follow the direction of Your Holy Spirit in our thoughts, words and deeds. Remind us that You created us to rise into the heavens on eagle’s wings (Isaiah 40:31).

 

You have a wonderful plan for our life; a plan filled with love, joy and peace through our Rock, Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 29:11). Remind us that our salvation does not come through human effort, but through accepting Jesus as our Savior and our Lord. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt that we owe for our sins.

 

Thought for the Day:

As long as we navigate life by God’s Spirit during each moment of the day, we will succeed in every area where He leads us.

 

Our True Reality

God uses our health, wealth, education, family background, and our natural talents and abilities for His service. In fact, He provided us with these resources for His glory.

 

What we encounter with the five senses of our body and the thoughts and emotions of our soul is limited at best. These are finite interpretations of what we experience, and do not include the spiritual aspect of what is occurring.

 

So often, we allow the anchor of the world that we can see to hinder our walk with the Lord. Yet, our Father calls us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). He wants us to look beyond the natural and to dwell in the spiritual world (Galatians 2:20).

 

We get a glimpse of this when we read about the angel finally arriving with Daniel’s answered prayer. The angel mentioned that God answered the prayer when Daniel prayed it, but demonic opposition demanded spiritual battle in high places (Daniel 10:1-21; Ephesians 1:20-22).

 

Christ in us keeps us balanced during every trial we experience. He will even move mountains for us, if they happen to be in the way of God’s plans for us (Mark 11:22-24). God’s Spirit always puts us in the right place at the right time if we submit to His guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Jesus suffered, died and rose again to give us the victory over this finite world and to make us holy and acceptable to God as His adopted children (Romans 12:1-3; Ephesians 1:5). He continues to pour out His life in us to make us effective in the work for which He called us.

 

Jesus redeems us, calls us by name and gives us His joy as our strength (Titus 2:14; John 10:3; Nehemiah 8:10). His light in us is not intended to be hidden under a basket, but to be set up on hill (Matthew 5:15-16).

 

He intends for His Light and Living Water to flow freely from our spirit in order to draw to Him everyone in our community who is willing to humble themselves before His loving grace and mercy (John 12:32).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us not to take the glory for what You do in our life. Without You, we are nothing, and we cannot accomplish anything for You with our human resources. Help us to set our mind on things above, not on the things of this earth (Colossians 3:2-10). We give You all of the glory for all that you do in and through us.

 

Teach us what it means to be dead to our self and to be seated with Christ at Your right hand (Ephesians 2:6); to live in the flesh, yes, but to dwell in the Spirit through Jesus who lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Help us to see life through Your eyes and to dwell on the infinite, rather than the finite.

 

Thought for the Day:

God chose us as a vessel for His glory and honor, and He designed a perfect plan for our life before we were ever born; now we live at the pleasure of our King Jesus. – Ephesians 2:10

Walking in the Spirit of God

Busyness is the bane of today’s society, especially if we have young children. We work all day and drive them around all afternoon and evening to dance, music, and sporting practice and events.

 

Even if we are retired, we can still be disproportionately and excessively busy. We think that busyness is a virtue, and we thrive on the attention and accolades we receive for the fruit of our labors.

 

We get sidetracked, breathless, lacking in peace, and rarely in the center of God’s rest. We feel “less than” or shamed, if we do not participate in every activity planned by our church family.

 

Of course, the fellowship and ministry are always worth our effort; but, at times, we take on too much, because others do not volunteer to help at all. Some people are too shy to speak up, and just need to be asked.

 

Overachieving is a characteristic of many personality types, because we want to feel valuable, helpful, effective, and needed.  Yet, we can be all of these virtues without living outside of God’s will for us.

 

When we walk in the Spirit, we have peace, joy, fulfillment and direction in each moment of our endeavors. We see abundant fruit from our efforts; and we breathe deeply and relax, which releases all of our tension and anxiety.

 

Someone said, “We are human BE-ings, not human DO-ings.” God exhorts us to “BE STILL, and know that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10). This tiny sentence teaches us that, as we know God intimately, and adopt a meek and gentle spirit, we can relax and allow Him to guide us in His will (1 Peter 3:4; Philippians 4:13).

 

Biblical precepts do not challenge us to be busy, but to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). Jesus showed us the example of a man who accomplished so much in His short lifetime.

 

Yet, He spent a great deal of His time drawn aside from busyness and in focused intimacy with Our Father God. Due to His quiet times, Jesus always carried that inner peace that we all crave – even through His horrid persecution, crucifixion and death on Calvary’s cross.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that rather than imitating a hamster on a caged wheel, You encourage us to wait on You, so that we can spread our wings and fly in the heavenly realm like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). Even as we walk in Your Spirit and accomplish Your will for each moment of our day, we can do so from the position of sitting in Your presence, relaxed and hopeful each moment of the day.

 

We rejoice in the fact that Jesus calls us to walk with Him in a spiritual life, devoid of stress and inordinate busyness. Remind us that You are on Your throne, and that You have all things in Your control. You love us unconditionally, and we do not have to prove our worth to You. You love and accept us just the way we are, and You gave us Your Spirit to perfect and sanctify us from one stage of Your glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Thought for the Day:

God cares for us even more than the lilies in the field and the birds in the air; He will give us His peace throughout our day as we consult Him before every activity in which we plan to participate. – Matthew 6:25-34