The Cure for Loneliness

aerial photography of mountains and near trees during daytime

Many of us have mental, emotional and spiritual issues from our past that keep us feeling fearful and insecure. We tend to drag these issues around with us until we resolve them. Unresolved conflicts within our soul may ruin our current and future relationships.

 

For instance, loneliness is a major plight in today’s busy world. Even if we have children, or are married, we can experience loneliness. Close friends may move away, or we may move away from them.

 

We often use addictions to mask our loneliness, which causes more isolation as well as physical, mental and emotional issues. Health issues may cause our loneliness, because they isolate us from the world around us.

 

We may have a personality that promotes our feelings of loneliness. Or an experience, such as a divorce, a fire, or a natural disaster may rob us of treasures that we hold dear, and cause us to feel depression and loneliness.

 

Thankfully, loneliness is a choice, and we can change that choice. God’s grace sufficiently supplies all of our needs, even opportunities to face our negative emotions and to seek His wisdom and guidance in resolving them.

 

Getting alone with God to give our self a chance to hear His voice and to listen to His wisdom and guidance is a wise habit. Without the distractions of other people making demands on us, we can focus – totally listening to God. His faithful presence abides within us.

 

We can view loneliness as a chance to increase our intimacy with God. Reading His Word, and spending dedicated time praising Him for who He is, and for His specific provision and blessings in our life, and walking in His Spirit will improve our unity with God.

 

We can also take part in group activities such as clubs that promote Bible studies, charitable activities, woodworking, biking or hiking, book reading together, craft classes, sporting events such as bowling or tennis, board games like checkers or chess, etc.

 

If we vegetate in front of the TV, play endless computerized games, or surf social media sites all day, this makes us feel even lonelier or more depressed and isolated. Listening to uplifting music, reading inspirational books and articles, teaching a class, asking God for wisdom on how to change negative thoughts and attitudes, etc. diminishes loneliness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that Your Word is full of comfort for us, especially the Psalms, because King David lost his mentor – King Saul. He also lost his best friend – Saul’s son Jonathan, as well as his home, and at times his country and his family; therefore His words bring comfort to our soul in lonely times. Help us not to dwell on our negative circumstances or on the fact that family and friends are too busy to include us in their life.

 

Remind us to follow Your Spirit’s leading in how to spend our time and attention. You may have ministry for us to do in our church and community; so give us the courage to step out in faith and volunteer, or to take a job that helps other people. We can even start a support group for people who feel lonely, or even just befriend one other person that we see struggling with loneliness too.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we have preconceived expectations of how and when God should answer our prayers, and He does not do it our way, this may increase our feelings of isolation; however, waiting on the Lord, and entering His rest, will give us joy and peace that will help us to see God’s hand during our negative circumstances.

– Proverbs 5:21; Matthew 26:36-46

 

 

Outreach into Our Community

gray concrete road top between green trees

 

Finding a church home helps us to join together relationally with family, neighbors and friends. People connect people to any church, not the preaching or the programs. When we join a church, we can easily assist in any number of ways in order to reach our community for Christ.

 

Most people crave being noticed. They want to know that another human being is interested in how they are, what they think, and how they feel (Leviticus 19:34; Matthew 25:35-40). When we ignore a visitor or a stranger among us, we are ignoring the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

He sends people to us every week, and He expects us to show them that we care about them, and to allow Him to use us to minister to their needs. There are always several ministries, which are easy to be involved in after we join a church.

 

The First Impression Ministry: such as Door Greeters, Sanctuary Greeters, and Information-Table Greeters. Also valuable is Security, Parking lot attendants, and Altar Ministry to pray with people when they come forward at the Invitation at the end of the service.

 

Then we have follow-up ministries with our visitors, such as Telephone & Visitation Ministry that can fit right into your schedule. Also, we have Breakthrough Classes that help people to discover their gifts and calling. Of course, inviting people to join you in your Sunday School Class will give them Bible training and fellowship.

 

In the midst of all of this is the Outreach ministry. This Encourager ministry also involves home visitation, taking food during times of trauma, phone calls and sending cards to both visitors and members.

 

Many churches also have weekly Prayer Walks in our community that go out to chat with people they meet during their walks. This enables our neighbors to see our friendliness, as we encourage them to come sit with us during a service.

 

The Kitchen Ministry is another vital place of service. Any time that food is served at the church, people are needed to make iced tea and coffee, to set up tables with decorations and enough chairs, to fill the serving tables with donated food brought by our members, and then to clean up after each time of fellowship.

 

Prayer:

Father God, show us where we can best be a help and a blessing to the congregation which You encouraged us to join in order to serve. Help us to be a blessing, and to never spread discord or to gossip about other members or visitors. Use us to help people to feel wanted, needed, cared about and special.

 

Give us ears to hear the needs that they hint about, but are afraid to actually admit. Provide us with extra finances in order to help people in our community that are in need. Lead us in the ministries in which You can best use our gifts and talents. Help us to live as Godly examples and committed children in Your family who truly care about those You send our way.

 

Thought for the Day:

There are so many ministries in the church, in which we can serve, in order to help our congregation to reach our neighbors with the love and nurture that God gives to us; this will further His Kingdom in the earth and give us the opportunity to spend eternity with them as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Those Whom Jesus Loves

shallow shot of white daisies

 

I felt unlovable all through my childhood. I would wish on the first star every night that I could be a “good girl”, so my mommy and daddy would love me. So, when I turned 18 and chose to believe in Jesus as my Savior, I thought I had to earn His love too.

 

I made a list of every Biblical mandate that I could find and attempted to obey that list to the letter of the law. It took me ten years to learn that I could not earn God’s love. Jesus already loved me enough to take the penalty of my sins to Calvary’s cross, and there is no greater love than that (John 15:13).

 

John, the apostle, was so confident that God loved him, that he often referred to himself in his gospels as, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). We would do well to follow his example, and to remind our self that God feels the same way about us.

 

Have you ever looked into your eyes in the mirror? The eyes are the window of the soul. They reflect the thoughts in our mind, the intent of our heart, and the feelings of our soul (Matthew 6:22-23). When I first did this exercise, I could not look into my own eyes.

 

I had shame-based thinking, because I believed Satan’s lies that I would never be good enough for God to love me. The wounds of my past, buried deep within my subconscious mind, tormented my soul. It took weeks of attempting to look into my own eyes before I could actually force myself to do it.

 

I felt so unlovable, so vulnerable, so damaged and so full of shame without any known reason for it. Slowly, God showed me the root of all of these negative emotions, and the reason that I believed these lies. After months of this healing process, I was able to look into my eyes and really mean it when I told myself, “God loves you, and so do I.”

 

( https://www.transformationprayer.org/preparing-journey-introduction/ )

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us how to access Your healing Truth, and to put the devil to flight away from us (Matthew 10:28; James 4:7-10; Matthew 16:26). You created our soul – our thoughts, feelings and choices, and You restore our soul from the wounds of life (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 23:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Thank You for loving us so much. We love You with our whole heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).

 

We find help for our soul in You (Psalm 3:2). We prosper and are in health on this earth in proportion to the prosperity of our soul (3 John 1:2). A troubled soul will cause physical illness in our body; but You will heal us, as we totally submit our body, soul and spirit to You. We live for Your glory, and we joyfully subject our will to Your plans for our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord loves His children with an everlasting love; we do not deserve it, we do not earn it, we simply receive it as the free gift that it is, from our God who abundantly loves us.

 

– John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8, 6:23; Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 4:9-11; Psalm 86:15

 

 

 

The Wonderful Love of God

sun reflection on calm water near green mountains

 

There is a common malady in today’s society, which leads many into addictions and crime. It is called hopelessness. They have tried to make something of their life; yet, they failed at every turn.

 

Therefore, they turn to chemicals, deviant behavior, and theft to relieve their symptoms of hopelessness. Some have never heard of the hope, which Christ provides. Others have heard that Jesus makes a difference, but they do not believe it.

 

It is up to those of us, who have first-hand experience with the wonderful love of God, to share the hope we find in Christ in a gentle, informative fashion, and to entreat others to trust their life to Christ too.

 

If we will simply call out to Him, the Lord promises to be close to the brokenhearted, and He saves all those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 43:18; 147:3). Total surrender to Him is the key to getting out of our misery.

 

God holds us up when we fall, and He lifts up everyone who is discouraged. We surrender our family, our future, our worries, and our desires to the love and care of God Almighty (Mark 9:23). We leave them in His capable hands.

 

When our soul is disheartened, we put our hope in God alone (Psalm 43:5). Complete surrender to God’s will in our current circumstance is the only way to stay sane. Even through the loss of a job, spouse, child, home, parent, etc. God really does care for us.

 

The Lord calls us to walk in obedience to His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day, and to obey His Spirit’s direction. We trust in God and not in our bank account, friends, children, job, parents, etc.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are my helper, so I will not be afraid (Isaiah 41:10,13-14). What can mere mortals do to me? In my distress, I cry out to You, and I pray to You for help. You always hear me from Your sanctuary, because my cries always reach Your ears (Psalm 18:8).

 

You give us grace for today and hope for tomorrow (Ecclesiastes 9:4). Once we put our trust totally in Your miraculous love, we always find a victorious way through every negative circumstance (2 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). We trust in Your love, compassion and grace for us.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we take our eyes off our self and put them on God instead, He keeps us in His perfect peace; we do not look at tomorrow, because God leads us by His Spirit in each current moment; we find rest in Him alone, because our only true hope comes from Him.

– Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 62:5

 

 

A Good Marriage – Adding a Spark to Our Attitude and a Spring in Our Step

parorama photography of mountain under cloudy sky

 

When we neglect our self, we have fewer resources to care for anyone else in our life. As codependents, we push through our circumstances in order to help others, but then we end up depriving our self of even more needed compassion and nurturing.

 

God’s Word reminds us to provide for our self too (Mark 12:31). The more we neglect the aspects of caring for our self, the more susceptible we are to physical, mental, and emotional ill health. We also suffer in our relationships due to our frumpy appearance and our grumpy attitude.

 

When we put our needs last, this causes us to suffer from our choices in more ways than we can ever imagine. A negative spiral of body and soul often spins out of control, our relationships grow stale, and we are neglected by others as well as by our own self.

 

Having an honest conversation with our spouse and family will help us to better communicate areas were we need their help in order to stop neglecting our own needs. We can also plan times in our daily schedule to pamper our body, read a book, watch a movie, fix our favorite dessert too, etc.

 

We may need to receive professional help to heal from trauma from our past in order to change our attitude about our role in life, and to love our self as much as we love other people – after all, we are a person too. We also need the compassion and care from our self that we give to everyone else.

 

This enables us to experience more joy and peace, as well as to secure better relations with our God, spouse, children, extended family, friends and community. We grow to rely on God to give us ideas on how to look and act our best. This puts an added spark in our attitude and a spring in our step.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to renounce the attitude that Satan plants in our soul that causes us to avoid our issues, to fluctuate between being sweet and angry, to please others, to neglect our self, to attempt to control life and others, or to just back down and to view our self as a helpless victim of our circumstances. Teach us to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, to own our responsibility to contribute to the relational success of our marriage, and to humbly and sincerely apologize when we are at fault.

 

Remind us that as Believers we have a secure love relationship with Your Trinity, who abides within us and richly gives us all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). Daily, Your Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ who abides within us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27). Thank You that Your Son gave us a living example of what it means to walk in Your will, and to reap the rewards that are inherent in our relationship with You.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we stop neglecting our self, we also stop teaching the significant people in our life to treat us in a subpar manner; as we calmly and honestly discuss our needs with them, they are more aware of how to relate to us, to treat us, and to have the opportunity to love us as Christ loves His church.

– Ephesians 5:25-28

 

Our Amazing God

pink flower plants

 

Each new morning marks the beginning of the rest of our life. What we make of it is our choice. We can either live it according to: (1.) our own goals and plans, or (2.) in the will of God for us. The first choice causes many frustrating and sometimes devastating issues to arise during our day.

 

The second choice gives us God’s peace and joy to help us rise above any circumstance that occurs. We plug into the resources that God always supplies for us, we advance beyond any normal human endeavors, and we enter into the supernatural realm.

 

Our life adopts a significance that only comes from the Trinity of God within us, because He gives us eternal life. Eternal life on this earth is knowing God personally, enjoying the power of Christ working in and through us, and living by the guidance and comfort of His Holy Spirit (John 17:3).

 

Living in this eternal flow through each moment of our life changes the process and the outcome of everything that we experience – those issues that we can change, and those over which we have no control. We perceive a shift in our paradigm, world view, and thought processes.

 

The issues of this life are no longer any concern for us. Yes, part of our soul and body may experience discomfort, fear, panic attacks, nausea, stress, trauma, etc. over the circumstances, because we are human; however, we can quickly change our focus by repeating the words, “Father, I believe, so help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

 

Changing our focus about our troubles will enable us to impact the difficulties that we can influence, and to put the rest in the heart of God to care for in His perfect timing and way. Godly serenity saturates our thoughts and emotions, and we live a productive life for God’s Kingdom.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for constantly intervening in our life to work out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:2), and for Your presence that is always working in and through us. Remind us that when we trust You with our life, people see a difference in us, when they compare us to those who depend on human wisdom and resources for their success. “God things” occur in our life, which have no natural explanation.

 

We want to please You by abiding in Your presence and living by faith in You. We depend on Your manifestation and power in our life for our very existence. Thank you for redirecting our focus, thoughts, and emotions toward the essence of what really matters in this life, so that we do not get side-tracked or bogged down in the mire of this earthly realm. We will look for the seeds for a miracle, which You plant within every trial.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we believe that God exists, and that He always rewards us when we seek Him for His plans for each moment of our day, we encounter miracles that cannot be explained in human terms; we find comfort in prayer – communicating our honest feelings to God, knowing that He really does care about us.

– Hebrews 11:6; Psalm 62:8; 1 Peter 5:7

Unfurling in the Son

 

green leafed plant

 

I love to watch new fern fronds uncurling in the nurturing sun and swaying in the breezes sweeping past them. They are so delicate, lacey, whimsical and hardy. They remind me of a new Believer, who unfurls under the steady gaze of God’s Son, and sways in the constant mighty wind of God’s Spirit rushing through our life (Acts 2:2).

 

I was there at one time – 50 years ago in 1969, and I am still there as I relish my continual time spent with the Trinity of God within me. There are a few essentials that enable us to mature spiritually, and to prosper over the years of our relationship with the Trinity.

 

Spending time each day alone with God is very nourishing to our spirit, body and soul – emotions, thoughts, and choices. We get away from the distractions of family, job, friends, activities, etc. – even if it is only for a few minutes – and we listen to God as He shares His wisdom, and His plans for our day.

 

Prayer is not formal, and there is no right or wrong way to pray. We are simply talking to God as we would to a friend. If we are not sure how to pray, we begin by thanking God for who he is, and for all the good things that He provides for us, then pray for others, and finally pray for our own needs.

 

This brings us J-O-Y … when we put:

J-esus first

O-thers next; but never neglecting or abusing

Y-ourself.

 

It is very important to also spend some quality time sitting quietly with our notebook (journal), waiting on the Lord to speak to our heart. We can write down our concerns, as well as what He tells us, and have it as a ready reference for the future.

 

We can also learn to pray “without ceasing” throughout the day: while driving in the car, waiting in line at a retail store, sitting in the doctor’s office, or while doing some task which requires no real concentration (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We ask God to lead us and to help us with each mission He calls us to accomplish.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we love You so much, and we appreciate even the little things You do for us each day. Even the air we breathe is a gift from You, because without it we would cease to exist. Teach us to make a list each night in our journal of five things that we praise You for from our day – we grow from positive and negative events in our life (John 16:33).

 

Remind us to count our blessings at the end of the day, starting with the letter “A” and going to the letter “Z”, even though we usually fall asleep at some point in the middle. I always start by thanking You for aardvarks, because this member of Your creation always makes me smile. You care about every big and little activity that occurs in our life; so as good things happen during the day, remind us to take time to praise and to thank You for them.

 

Thought for the Day:

Satan is not happy that we are no longer his slaves to sin, and he will try everything in his power to discourage us or confuse us, so that we will quit walking with God; therefore, fellowshipping with other Christians helps to prevent this from happening, because we can discuss our questions and fears and frustrations with someone we trust, and who can help shed light on what we are experiencing.

 

 

 

Inevitable Arguments

landscape photography of lake

 

Some people hate confrontation, and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Others love a good skirmish and will actually pick a fight to instigate an argument. Regardless of our leaning between these two extremes, arguments are inevitable.

 

If we are honest, we will admit that we even argue with our self – our “me”, “myself” and “I” have differences of opinion. Then, we also argue with God’s will for some unfathomable reason – except that we often believe that we know better than God does about what is best for our life.

 

There are several ways to “argue.”

  1. We have an all-out, heated war and both insist that we are right.
  2. We cave in to the other person’s aggressiveness in order to “keep the peace”.
  3. We fear rejection, so we act amenably in order to “buy” their love.
  4. We pray together, and find a third alternative that is agreeable with both of us.

 

The first option is destructive. We are tempted to use words that wound, we get side-tracked from the original issue and chase after lesser important matters. We also erect walls between us and our loved one that affect our intimacy, fulfillment, etc.

 

The second option causes us to abandon our self, as we fabricate our thoughts until the other person’s desires take on more of an importance to us than our own. We forget that we are a person too, and our needs are as vitally important as theirs are.

 

The third option also puts us in a position to disregard our own needs. Resentment, frustration, and disappointment flood our soul and detrimentally influences future disagreements, because it compounds our feelings of neglect and abuse.

 

Of course, the fourth option is the optimal way to deal with disagreements. It takes more work, patience, compassion, and is often viewed as an inconvenience that compounds the original concerns. However, this option avoids the negative consequences inherent in the other three choices.

 

This fourth way also allows us to walk in the Spirit together, and to keep our unity under the covering of God’s will for our relationship. Finding that third option is challenging, but it is also more satisfying. We nurture our love for one another, both of us find fulfillment in the final decision, and we increase our intimate union with one another.

 

Random Quote:

“We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to take advantage of the wind to take us to where we really want to be.”

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that it is foolish to count our worth according to our fame, fortune, number of people that we please, or our success in this life. These are fleeting and transitory and can change in an instant. Teach us that as followers of Christ, it is anti-climactic to pursue aspects pertaining to this earthly realm. You provide us with both the desire and the power to bring You pleasure, which insures our ultimate success (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

When we compare our thoughts with Your Word, it helps us to judge them according to Your precepts. Help us to live like a thermostat to regulate the temperature in the world around us, instead of as a thermometer, which just registers the status quo. Help us to focus our mind, affections and goals on Your purposes for us (Colossians 3:2). We are never more fulfilled than we are while walking closest to You through Christ in us. We worship and adore You all of the days of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

Differences of opinion, needs, goals, worldview, etc. are inevitable; however, they are not predictable disruptions in the unity of our relationships with friends, relatives, associates and neighbors, because there is always a third option where both sides are content with the ultimate decision.

Friends with God

brown and orange butterfly perched on yellow lantana flowers

 

Jews and Gentiles are all capable of claiming friendship with God through the power of Jesus Christ abiding within us. We are fellow heirs of God’s Kingdom, members of the same Body of Christ, and partakers together of the promise of Christ in us by believing the Gospel (Ephesians 3:4-6).

 

All Believers are His children, heirs of His glory, and adopted into His family. We are also subject to share in His suffering, which He endured throughout His lifetime (Romans 8:17). God calls us to willingly submit as bondservants to Jesus, and slaves to His righteousness.

 

We are not merely His servants, He considers us as His family. We are adopted into God’s family and co-equal heirs with Jesus to inherit everything that our Father owns (Romans 8:17). We are also regenerated disciples of Christ, ever-learning from His truth and walking in His Spirit.

 

Yet, the most amazing position we share is that of living as friends of God (John 15:13). This thought warms my soul and fills me with joy, peace and abundant love for both our Heavenly Father and our brother, Jesus.

 

Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the sacrificial Lamb. He took on the sins of the world and is also the righteous Judge. He is the consuming Fire and the Light of the world, the Root of Jesse and the King of the Jews, as well as the future King of the whole world.

 

Jesus no longer calls us servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, He calls us His friends, because everything that Jesus learned from our Father He has made known to us.

 

Jesus is ultimately our Emanuel – God with us, and He dwells in our spirit and changes us from the inside out. Jesus is our loving Friend who is always here for us. As His friends, we always do what His Spirit leads us to do (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for Your Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and that the fullness of the godhead is in us as well (Colossians 1:19; 2:9). We rejoice at the sanctifying work of Your Spirit within us. We like who You make us, much better than living as a product of our genes and upbringing.

 

Although we did not choose You, You chose us and appointed us to go forth into the world, in order to bear fruit for Your Kingdom (John 15:13-16). Jesus is our very best friend, and we thank You for His finished work on Calvary’s Cross. This allows us to walk in His love, as well as in His acceptance as members of Your family, and as Your friend.

 

Thought for the Day:

We do not have to earn God’s love or acceptance by good deeds or righteous acts; we simply surrender our will to His, and walk in obedience to His calling for our life; then, He gives us His Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide, and He promises never to leave us or forsake us.

– Deuteronomy 31:8; John 15:26; Hebrews 13:5

 

 

 

A Good Marriage – Cherish is the Word

calm body of water

 

 

In 1966, a song was written by Terry Kirkman and recorded by The Association. “Cherish” remained as number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. That means the words resonated in people’s hearts.

 

I never knew how it felt to be cherished until I married my husband, Kevin. Like the song says, his love for me is deep within his heart, and this makes him delight in spending time with me, holding me, and enjoying the fact that I relish spending time with him as well.

 

We are also best friends, and we love our shared adventures; but most of all, we cherish one another and our life together. As a couple, we share our love for the Lord, and we work together in His Kingdom, which is the foundation of our relationship.

 

Many marriages have all the elements of survival: serving and sacrificing for one another, feeling empathetic toward each other’s illnesses and victories and defeats, cheering each other along toward our successes, and enjoying an intimate affection that fulfills the soul and spirit, as well as the body.

 

We also delight in one another, enjoy each other, and make plans to spend regular time together every day – even if it is only for a few moments, we make it memorable quality time. Making an ongoing commitment to cherish one another adds to the intimacy of this time together.

 

Even if business, illnesses, family issues, etc. get in the way of romance or “doing life as usual”, we never lose the glow of the cherishing intimacy that we built together during several decades of loving and serving one another.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that loving someone can switch to hating that same person simply by tossing the coin of circumstances. However, when our love is based on cherishing our mate, we are more invested in one another. We look beyond disappointments, broken promises, signs of aging, debilitating illness, mental imbalance, emotional issues, etc., and we continue to love and cherish our mate.

 

Teach us to base our affections on serving, rather than on being served; on preferring one another, rather than on expecting our mate to make us happy; on enjoying our maturing relationship, rather than expecting the sparks that initially drew us together to continue. Make our relationship an example for younger couples to emulate; so they can build strong marriages for future generations as well.

 

Thought for the Day:

Marriage is full of many choices, and they can come from our heart and increase our intimacy, or they can develop into a downward spiral that detracts from our feelings of love and cherishing one another; when our mate is our greatest treasure in life, the most intimate days of our marriage are always ahead of us.