How Do We Live by Faith

When we “live by faith” we see light in the darkness, opportunity in discouragement, growth in our trials, faith in our faithful God, and we realize that everything is possible when it pertains to the will of God for our life (Mark 9:23).

 

As we trust in the Lord, we commit our thoughts, words and deeds to Him; we hope in Him implicitly; we act on His desires for each moment of our day; we dwell in the Spirit; and we trust in His reliable commitment to us (Psalm 37:3-4).

 

When we delight in our union with Christ in us, we stand amazed as He replaces our carnal desires with His righteous desires that keep us safe and satisfied. He is just and right in all of His ways, and He protects us from the calamity of our own making (Psalm 37:5).

 

There is no need to worry, succumb to stress, or to allow anxiety to reign in our thoughts and emotions, even when the unbelievers around us seem to prosper, and we suffer lack. Ours is an everlasting success and fulfillment, theirs is temporary and fleeting (Psalm 37:6-7).

 

Entering God’s rest is a process, and once we reach it, we abide there continually, regardless of circumstances (Hebrews 4:10). Keeping a record of what God did, is doing, and promises to do in our life, helps us to see just how much He loves us.

 

Other people are amazed at our trust in God during times of trial and disaster (1 John 3:1), and they want to emulate our behavior. This gives us a chance to share with them how Jesus wants to save them, fill them with Himself, and become their whole focus in life (John 3:16-18; Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we have nothing but joy in our thoughts of You. You are our Rock, our Sword, our Shield, and You are the hub in the center of the wheel of life (Psalm 18:2-6; Ephesians 6:17; Ezekiel 1:16). We magnify You with our life, so that when others look at us, they do not see the “magnifying glass” of our words and good works (Matthew 5:16), but they see You magnified through us, and they exalt in Your name together with us (Psalm 34:3).

 

We rejoice in You always and continually (Philippians 4:4-8). You gave us Jesus as our Light (John 8:12), our Bread of Life (John 6:35), our Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1), our Strength and Buckler (Psalm 18:2), and our Way, Truth and Life (John14:6-11). We can count on You to see us through the worst trials in this world, and to help us to overcome and to live victoriously through every mishap and disaster.

 

Thought for the Day:

Due to His steady love and nurturing relationship with His Saints, we praise the Lord at all times, and we never pass up an opportunity to sing His praises; we boast in Him and His provision for our life, and those humble enough to understand will hear our testimony and bless the Lord too, as they find His joy as the strength in their life as well. – Psalm 34:1-2

 

 

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

It is so easy to give up on God when our circumstances overwhelm us. We think He abandoned us and left us in the pit of despair all alone. We feel discouraged and distraught, wondering which way to go and how to get there.

 

The opposite is actually true. God is right down there in the mud and mire, loving us through it all from within our spirit (Hebrews 13:5). Over our years of walking with the Lord, our confidence in Him grows.

 

If we cling to this confidence (Hebrews 10:35), God richly rewards us with His presence (Galatians 2:20), His mercy and grace (Ephesians 2:4-10), His wisdom and power (1 Corinthians 1:18-21), and the list goes on and on.

 

Unrealistic expectations, of what God is going to do for us, shake our confidence in Him. We quote God’s promises to Him, and hold Him accountable to give us what He promises at the exact time that we want it. However, God is not our puppet or Aladdin’s lamp.

 

He is the Supreme Being of the entire universe, the Creator, the Almighty. He tells us what to do, not the other way around. We pray, “Lord, Your will be done” not “Lord, do my will and do it now.” God holds all the cards, and we have no bargaining power.

 

Discouragement is the precursor to us losing our confidence in God. Unmet expectations cause discouragement. This vicious cycle comes from a finite mind with earthly goals and priorities. Making heavenly issues our priority prevents this from happening.

 

A key to living a fulfilled life, is to trust only in the Lord with our whole heart, and to gratefully receive His blessings when He provides them, regardless of what they are. We hold on to our confidence in God and refuse to define our self or to limit God by Satan’s lies or by our own fears and insecurities (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is easy for human beings to focus on the negative, and to forget to count all the benefits that You provide for us throughout the day (Psalm 103:1-22). You use our hang-ups and habits to provide us with a launching pad to grow more intimate with You every day, because they humble our pride and make us more dependent on You.

 

Thank You for giving us the desire and the power to walk in Your will and Your ways (Philippians 2:12-13). Your Body is all around us in every part of this world. We gain encouragement by worshipping with one another, and growing together in Christ (Hebrews 10:25). Help us to relinquish our expectations and to court a peaceful existence, accepting Your will for our life and adopting it as our own focus, goal and desire.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we do not allow our temporary and light affliction to limit our faith in God’s faithfulness – regardless of how severe we think it is at the time we are experiencing it, we will be able to trust in the seed for a miracle, which He plants within every trial that invades our life. – 2 Corinthians 4:17.

Making Assumptions

Satan is consistently involved in our dialogue with our self and with each other. We notice a person’s behavior, or a tone in their voice, or their body language, and we often assume the worst.

 

We fail to ask them about it, afraid of a confrontation; so we stew for hours. We assume that they are indifferent, unsympathetic mean-spirited or unloving. We think that they should instinctively know what we need without us asking.

 

Maybe their good intentions backfired, and they unknowingly hurt our feelings. Are they distracted, do they have a burden consuming their thoughts, are they busy and do we need to wait for a better time to talk to them? Do they think we are just making a comment instead of asking for help?

 

Many times the other person just does not understand, or cannot relate to what we are saying. They do not know how to empathize or what to do to help us. They feel useless, and they need us to be honestly candid about exactly what we need, rather than hinting or assuming.

 

When we make assumptions, we put boundaries around our heart and theirs. We feel unfavorably toward them, and we struggle with damaging negative emotions, often needlessly. It is much better to kindly ask for clarification of what they are thinking or feeling.

 

Direct and honest communication, done without accusations, hints and innuendoes, is the best method to express our needs. We should also consider whether the person is actually listening to us, or if they are zoned out, or if misconstrued what we said or asked.

 

Getting their attention before we speak, making eye contact, clarifying what they heard us say, and helping them to understand what we need will go a long way in solving these problems.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I used to think that You played a cruel trick on humanity by allowing opposites to attract. The conflict in communication is grievous to me, and I often feel frustrated, unloved and misunderstood. You created men, women, and different personality types to think so differently, and have such contrasting needs, that it is hard for us to get along.

 

Over the years, You taught me that opposites attract for a reason. You want us to share our strengths in order to improve both our lives and to help each other rather than for us to compete with one another. You made us different so that we could bless one another in ways that we could never accomplish on our own. Thank You for Your wisdom and love for us. We can never thank You enough.

 

Thought for the Day:

Giving people the benefit of the doubt will minimize the negative reactions that we have with them, improve our communication, and foster positive feelings and relationships; however, when we do doubt their meaning or intentions, we can kindly ask them to clarify their words or actions, and have patience with, and compassion on their reasoning.

Your Feelings Matter – Part 2

When we feel powerless over the outcome of current events that impact our future, we resort to resentment, anger and even verbal or physical attacks to make our feelings known, to be heard and understood, and to have some say-so in our environment.

 

Otherwise, we are a prisoner in our own life, living according to the dictates of other people. We die inside by small increments, or we shroud our soul with bursts of temper in an attempt to ward off the unwanted encroachment on our boundaries.

 

Powerlessness ends up controlling our attitude, and instigating more negative emotions than our body, soul and spirit can tolerate. We exhibit no self-control, because we are so out of control of our life. Others make decisions that affect us, without any consideration for our needs.

 

The antidote for this malady is to discover who we are, why we react in this manner, and how to alter our attitude and behavior by being strong in the Lord by the power of His might within us (Ephesians 6:10). Rather than taking control of the situation, we submit to His control.

 

If someone makes a decision that affects us, we can make our own decisions that keep us in the center of God’s will for us. We have no obligation to reap what another person sows. We can cooperate to the best of our ability, but when our spirit is grieved, we can make choices that keep us healthy and safe.

 

This all starts by making frequent searching inventories throughout the day of our body, soul and spirit. What negative signals are they giving us? What is causing these red flags, and what is God telling us to do about it? Then we can respectfully approach the person stirring up these emotions.

 

Together, we can discover God’s will for these issues and remedy the disagreements between us with a rational plan to find a third alternative that we can both agree upon. This way our emotions are diffused, everyone’s needs are met, and we live in harmony rather than discord.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word tells us that in quietness and confidence, we find our true strength (Isaiah 30:15). Help us to love and respect our self and others in such a way that we are willing to listen to one another, clarify any confusion we may still have, cooperate, and adjust to each other’s needs.

 

You have a perfect plan for each moment of our day, year and lifetime. Praying together will enable each of us to discover Your will for our life. This way we live in harmony, embracing each other physically, emotionally and spiritually. Show us the deep-seeded fears that often fuel our emotions, and help us to resolve them with harmonious decisions by which we can both live in Your will for us.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we believe that the other person in our relationship cares more about their own plans and goals, and they disregard us as if we do not matter, human beings tend to take a fight or flight stance, and the war begins or the relationship ends; God always gives us a third option if we take the time to actively listen to each other and to ferret out a solution agreeable to both of us.

 

Does God Punish us for Our Sins

“For every action, there is always an opposite and equal reaction.” If we sin, we reap destruction. It’s an inescapable fact of life on this planet. We may enjoy the behavior for a season, but the damage always catches up with us eventually.

 

For instance: after a night of drinking, we reap a horrid headache or get in a car accident or receive a ticket from driving while drunk; we experience serious side effects when using drugs or having multiple sexual partners; loss of income if we are fired from our job for some unwise behavior; throwing good money after bad if we gamble, etc.

 

We try to find happiness, searching in all the wrong places; and we reap what we sow. Rejected, hell-bound, unfulfilled, hopeless and helpless, we struggle with bouts of depression and try to convince our self that we have everything under control.

 

Oh, we make a valiant effort to set goals, work our way to the top of our chosen profession, and to succeed according to worldly standards. However, the void we feel inside is still insatiable.

 

God calls us to make a searching inventory of our thoughts and choices, and to thoroughly cleanse our soul of those sins over which we do have control. He desires that we look to Him to deliver us from those habits from which we cannot free our self.

 

He gives us the tools and spiritual nutrition that we need to grow into mature Saints of God (1 Peter 2:1-3; Philippians 2:12-13). We honor Him by following His perfect plans for us each moment of the day.

 

Our Father God sets us on a hill as a beacon of light, gets the glory for our good works, is proud of us for our good citizenship, and encourages us to use our free will to choose to serve Him and to reap the benefits of living in His Kingdom now and for eternity.

God does not deal with our sin, and require a blood sacrifice, in order to punish us, but to protect us from the devastation that sin brings into our life. His love is four-dimensional and surrounds and fills us through our entire being (Romans 8:31-39).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You set Jesus as the living Corner Stone for Your Temple made without hands. Then You place us exactly where You want us in the foundation, or the walls, or the towers in order to continue this building process and to allow us to serve You with our life.

 

You also calls us as holy priests to serve in Your sanctuary (1 Peter 2:4-6). We want nothing more from life than to recognize that we are crucified with Christ, and the life which we now live on this earth is motivated by our faith in You, because You love us and gave Yourself for us (Galatians 2:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

Our Loving Heavenly Father instructs and teaches us how to live in this sin-cursed world; then, He shows us what to do each moment of our day – which path to follow, and He gives counsel on the best way to perform the service to Him to which He calls each one of us individually and collectively as the Body of Christ. – Psalm 32:8

 

God’s Matchless Power

God gave those who believe in Him, His matchless power. It is the same dynamite power that raised Jesus from the dead, and then granted Him the privilege of sitting at God’s right hand in glory with everything under submission to Him.

 

As the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:19, 22), He gave us the power to rule over Satan even now by drawing near to God and resisting the devil (James 4:7-8). We will also rule and reign with Jesus over the nations in the Millennium and throughout eternity (Romans 8:17; John 17:22; 1 Corinthians 6:2-4).

 

In the end times, Jesus will destroy all dominions, authority, powers, and all of God’s enemies – including death. During His Kingly reign, He will bring everyone and all of creation to full submission to His will.

 

Everyone in heaven, on earth and in hell will bow their knees to King Jesus (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11). Then, He will hand over the Kingdom to God, our Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). He gives us the calling to set the captives free by the authority of Christ in us (Acts 16:18)

 

When we concentrate on who we are in Christ, rather than on our finite, human attributes, we access the power of God in us, so that we can prove our love to God by obeying His commands (John 14:15). We live each moment in the center of God’s will.

 

Therefore, since we are raised with Christ, and He abides within us with all the power of the Trinity, we are free to focus our thoughts and affections on things above, not on things on this earth. We come to realize that Jesus is our only true life (Colossians 3:1, 3-4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are a people peculiar to You with Your authority, power, love and grace within us. We minister in Jesus’ name for the purpose of furthering Your Kingdom in this earth. Remind us to appeal to everyone who will give us their time, and ask them to be reconciled with You. This way, they too will enjoy the magnitude of Your blessings both now and for eternity.

 

We have Your power in us to make disciples in our home, our town, our state, our country and the world (Matthew 28:18-19). We are Your ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Remembering that we do not witness in our own power, removes our fear and allows Your power in us to give us the wisdom and words we need.

 

Thought for the Day:

The power of God in us is far greater than anything available on this earth, in the kingdoms of this world, in every dominion of Satan, and in every title that can ever be given in any place now or in the future; it is available to us through Christ in us.

– Ephesians 1:20-21; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27

 

Enjoying the Mind of Christ

God created the human psyche with a conscious and subconscious mind, emotions, and a free will to choose our destiny. Our brain controls our thoughts, which influence our words and deeds.

 

Enjoying the mind of Christ, who abides within us, allows Jesus to think and act through us. He helps us to accept the mysteries of God by faith. We adopt His values, enjoy His wisdom, and discern His judgments and reasoning (Colossians 2:2-3).

 

This all enables us to enjoy a deeper intimacy with God’s Trinity within us (Hebrews 13:21). We want less of this world (Psalm 119:33-37) and more security and affection with Jesus. We no longer desire the status, success and trappings of life on earth.

When we experience trials, we know the Trinity is right there with us and in us. He gives us the mind of Christ, and comforts us through it all (Psalm 71:20). We love Him, and we obey Him through each moment of our day (John 14:15).

 

When we prefer our own counsel over attaining God’s plans for our next activity, we do not learn to access the mind of Christ within us. It is only as we pay attention to Jesus’ thoughts in our mind that we are transformed into spiritual children of our most high God (Romans 12:2).

 

To live with the mind of Christ, we have His life and peace filling our heart and mind (Romans 8:6). His Kingdom consumes our thoughts, and His principles bring us indescribable joy (Psalm 119:20, 24). We feast on His Word day and night.

 

We do not want to believe a lie or to devote our self to myths and worshipping our ancestors (1 Timothy 1:4). With the mind of Christ in us, we know God’s truth at all times, which sets us free (John 8:32). His peace guards our soul, and keeps us from believing Satan’s lies (Philippians 4:7; John 8:44).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are our Rock, our God of truth, and You have no immorality or injustice in You. You are just and right continually (Deuteronomy 32:4). It is impossible for You to lie (Hebrews 6:18). We devote our self to serving You as You direct our steps each moment of the day. Living in the center of Your will is the safest and happiest place on earth.

 

You gave us emotions to enjoy life, as well as a mind in order to receive Your thoughts and direction for our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). Remind us to inventory our thoughts and feelings during the day to discern when we are out of Your will for us. We love You with all of our heart, mind and strength and live at the pleasure of our King Jesus.

 

Thought for the Day:

It is critical that we allow the mind of Christ to lead and guide us through our day, as we accomplish the works that God created us to do with victory and success in each endeavor.

– Ephesians 2:10

Recovering from Life’s Trauma

Suffering from abuse causes devastation throughout our lifetime. We agonize over and grieve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual side-effects that putrefy our existence on every level. These issues can even cause complicated medical problems.

 

To hide our shame, we develop perfectionist practices to stay safe, and we have control issues in an attempt to prevent any further abuse. In order to feel normal and accepted, we dive into a codependent lifestyle, which robs us of our independence and autonomy.

 

We actually end up abusing our self further, because we are so busy serving others that we ignore and neglect our own needs. We look to others to meet our needs, but they are too busy or enveloped in their own life to help us.

 

If we attempt to share the secret of our abuse, most people, especially family, refuse to believe us. However, when we do share our secret – in spite of our fears of repercussions, we are no longer a victim, and our abuser loses his/her power over us.

 

Our subconscious mind will often invite physical illness as a way to eradicate the effects of our ordeal. Chemicals in our food, toiletries and environment also cause physical ailments; but at times, illness is a manifestation of the trauma and grief, which we carry from our past.

 

Stress, anxiety and perfectionism deplete our adrenal glands, which cause further physical, mental and emotional complications. Stopping this rat race enables us to prevent future physical, mental and emotional impediments.

 

It is important to realize that we are not damaged and flawed by our past. In Christ, we are a new creation. He takes our pain and our sins and nails them to Calvary’s cross. Now, we have new life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

Jesus’ completed work (Colossians 2:10) helps us to deny the past its control over our future. We start to count our blessings and feel gratitude for God’s provision in our spirit, body, and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions.

 

As we allow our self to actually feel our feelings, we can gain a new perspective on our past. Those events no longer define who we are (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20). Once we decide to break free from those chains of bondage, we can trust God’s Holy Spirit.

 

He gives us the victory over sin, sickness and destruction, which our former life forced on us. The key to full healing is to realize that we are no longer victims of our past. Jesus took our pain and sorrow, and nailed it on the cross with Him.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we know that You will take revenge on our perpetrators in Your own timing and way; and if we refuse to forgive them, we are only hurting our self. We do not want to live in poor health, because it only hinders our service to You. Therefore, we thank You for helping us to release our pain and trauma to You, and for allowing Jesus to set us free from the past (John 8:36), and to give us a promising future (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

As we garner the courage from You to face our past head on, we can admit that we were harmed and damaged. Then we can start on our healing journey to wholeness. Your love covers a multitude of sin that was forced on us by people who were supposed to protect us. Help us to forgive them, even though we can never excuse what they did to us, and to leave justice in Your capable hands.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we are drowning in grief from life’s trauma’s, it is better to allow our self to rise to the surface, rather than to panic and fight our way to the top; our healing is more available to us when we go ahead and accept the fact that even though we never received the admission of guilt from our abusers, God knows the truth and will bring retribution in His way and time.

 

Spiritual Warfare in Our Relationships

Satan steals, kills and destroys (John 10:10). His purpose is to divide and conquer. If he can destroy marriages, he will also destroy the family and eventually the church. He declares war on the couple who realize that Jesus is our whole life and who attempt to serve God together (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

If he cannot stop us from serving God and contributing to the growth of God’s Kingdom, then he will use busyness, over-commitment at work or with our children’s activities, negative emotions, and even apathy to dissuade our spiritual focus and fervor.

 

If Satan can conquer a marriage, or our spiritual focus, he can destroy our testimony and use this poor example to dissuade others from coming to Christ. He divides us and conquers our influence in our world.

 

He will also stir up in us a dissatisfaction with our relationships with our spouse, our best friends and our church family. We end up critical, pharisaical, resentful, and eventually bitter (Matthew 23:4-12). We cannot find happiness, though we search for it.

 

The devil also uses human pride to exaggerate in our mind the importance of our opinions and beliefs. We fail to try to see things from someone else’s perspective, and we insist on our own way. We end up acting in hurtful ways rather than exhibiting the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

The truth, however, is that we are not obligated to pay any attention to the devil’s deception. In fact, if we develop a deeper intimacy with Christ in us, His strength within us will enable us to resist the devil until He flees from us (James 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, the only hope we have against submitting to the perfect storm of deception and temptation that Satan weaves into our lives is to walk in Your Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). As we draw near to You, You will give us wisdom and discernment that will expose the devil’s plans, as well as the spiritual strength to resist him until he flees from us (James 4:7).

 

We know without a doubt that Christ in us is stronger than the devil and his demons (1 John 4:4). We have seen You defeat him in our life time and again, and we trust that as we walk in obedience to You, that You will continue to set us free from his influence and interference in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Satan is the master of deception; he convinced many angels to rebel against God, Adam and Eve to disobey the one commandment that God gave them, and he makes sin seem pleasant to us, once he wears down our devotion to God; however, if we draw near to God and resist the devil, he has to flee from us. – James 4:7

 

 

Finding Our Balance

I am enthralled lately about patience’s perfect work in us (James 1:4). I used to say, “Don’t pray for patience, your life will get inundated with trials of every sort.” However, I recently learned to embrace patience in the little things, and I have had fewer major issues with which to deal.

 

You know the little things I am talking about…they happen every day, all day. Take waiting, for instance. I despise waiting. My husband always gets everywhere early and is never, ever just on time or late. Waiting is a big part of my life. You too?

 

The doctor always over-schedules his appointments and we rarely if ever get to see him/her on time. Grocery lines, backed-up traffic, hospital surgery waiting rooms, meetings to start, counseling appointments to show up, our prayer to be answered, scheduled deliveries, etc. often make us wait.

 

I used to give-in to impatience, and fuss and fume inside; however, our Father God showed me a secret. Rather than allowing the frustration of waiting to overpower me…

 

I can lean into it and embrace it.

 

When I feel impatience taking over my soul, I simply say, “Okay, I am going to let patience have her perfecting work in me”; and then I relax. Leaning into and embracing waiting is the same concept as leaning into the wind on a stormy day.

 

If we fight the occasion of waiting, we exhaust our self, like we do when we fight the wind. If we simply lean into the wind, we find our balance and relax.

 

We always have the choice to control our thoughts and change them from negative to positive ones (Philippians 4:8). When we lean into the wait and allow patience to have her perfecting work in us, we feel calm pour over us, and a deep breath escapes our lungs as we relax.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for showing us that when we allow impatience to rule in our life, it makes us grouchy, spoils our witness, and hurts other people needlessly. The great fact about patience doing her perfect work in us is that we also have more love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Teach us to feel patience toward our foibles and idiosyncrasies, to accept other people just the way they are and to love them with Your agape love, to find Your joy in every situation as we trust only in You (James 1:2-3), and to enjoy the journey as Your Holy Spirit gives us the mind and nature of Jesus to replace our carnality. We can never thank You enough for Your love and grace.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we think life is finally manageable, trials strike and we tend to feel overwhelmed; but if we lean into the trial and relax, we can look forward to being whole, complete and in need of nothing as patience produces her enduring work in us. – James 1:3-4