Singing and Making Melody in Our Heart

Yellow Rose

When I was a new Christian, I lived in Pensacola, FL in a Christian commune in the inner city. We had two houses, one for the girls and a beautiful two story Southern Colonial one with a wrap-around porch for the boys. 

People hitch-hiking from all over the world usually passed by and stopped into the boy’s house for a pertinent Bible study, a free meal, a warm shower, clean sheets, and a safe place to spend the night. Some of those who accepted Jesus as their Savior stayed on with us.

We slept in rooms full of bunk beds, and we learned what it meant to “live by faith.” We worked together to learn more about God’s Word, to obey God’s precepts, to get local jobs, and to dwell together as a Christian family, although we were from a diverse cultural heritage.

The Lord taught us melodies for many Psalms, and these songs still resonates in my soul to this day. One song in particular has become the cry of my heart, because I cannot survive without God’s presence in me, every moment of every day of my life.

Song:

Cause me to hear 

Thy loving kindness in the morning, 

For in Thee do I trust;

Cause me to know

The way wherein I should walk

For I lift up my soul unto Thee.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Deliver me, oh Lord

Teach me to do Thy will

*Quicken me, oh Lord

For I lift up my soul unto thee. – Psalm 143:8-11

* “Quicken” in the King James version of the Bible means to come alive, to vitalize, animate, energize, bolster, embolden, invigorate and encourage. God’s presence in our life does all of this and so much more. He gradually becomes the center of our focus. 

As usual, the Psalmist felt the same way that we often do, and that is so very comforting. Even the apostle Paul admonished us to speak to our self in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; to sing and to make melody in our heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).

Music is one of the most healing activities in which we can participate. We do not have to carry a tune (as they say, not even in a bucket), or sound professional, as long as the words are coming straight from our heart throughout the day. 

I used to sing like a bird, until my immune system attacked my vocal cords. I would take my guitar, close my bedroom door, sit in the middle of my bed, and sing to the Lord for at least an hour every day after work. 

God instructs us in many places in His Word to sing aloud to our heart’s content. In God’s timing, I look forward to Him healing my vocal cords, so that I can vocally worship Him again; but for now, I sing in my heart all day long.

Music awakens parts of our self – in our spirit, soul and body – and brings healing to many damaged aspects of who we really are. Due to a lack of musical ability, we often refrain from expressing our self in this way. 

However, the vibrations of musical sound in our body bring us pleasure, relaxes tension, calms nerves, reduces pain levels, releases endorphins, centers our soul in the Lord, and makes us feel more secure, joyful and peaceful. Focusing on the sounds of nature, even of a cat’s purring, does this same thing for us.

Each deep breaths, which we take while we sing, floods our body with needed oxygen, encourages gratitude and satisfaction, decreases cortisol – which causes stress, and increases the response of our immune system, etc. The type of song that we sing can even help us to relate to and improve our moods of both depression and joy.

Therapists use singing as treatment for certain neurological dysfunctions, because it will benefit our brain by increasing our ability to reason, remember, solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Singing also helps us to connect to our authentic self within, and it makes us more vulnerable and devoid of wearing masks to disguise our inhibitions.

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that You love to hear our praises. So much of Your Word relates to the benefit of singing. Having a joyful, singing heart helps us to adopt more kindness, liberality, and affection for others. We have more courage to ask for help and consideration from others, more peace to hear Your voice in our spirit, connectivity to the rhythm of the world around us, and exploration of our feelings of perception, discernment and inspiration.

Thank You for rejoicing over Your Saints with singing (Zephaniah 3:17), for enabling the widow’s heart to rejoice (Job 29:13), and for releasing Paul and Silas from jail when they sang in their prison chains, rather than complaining or grumbling against You (Acts 16:25). You are our hiding place, and You surround us with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). We sing of Your power, mercy, provision and defense each new morning, and we exalt You and praise Your name forever (Psalm 13:5-6, 59:16, 68:4-5).

Thought for the Day:

Singing brings us freedom, healing, and positive feelings, because it releases us from our negative emotions, brings equilibrium to our thoughts, allows healing to take place in our body, and helps us to make more analytical choices rather than emotionally over-reactive ones.  a

A Good Marriage – Why Get Married

God instituted marriage in order to protect the couple and the family. Jesus said that marriage is only for people here on earth (Luke 20:34). There is no marriage in heaven, because we will marry our Bridegroom during the Great Tribulation that occurs on the earth (Revelation 19:7).

So, why get married on earth? Making marriage vows encourages a person to keep them and to remain committed to one person until death parts them. We belong to one another, and that sense of belonging brings security and joy (1 Corinthians 7:4).

We usually leave our parents and cleave to our mate, becoming one flesh (Genesis 2: 23-25). God makes it clear throughout the Bible that there is a difference between married sexuality and sexuality outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9).

If people continually live a lifestyle of sexual perversion, they are not Born Again. If they were, the Holy Spirit would convict them that this is wrong behavior and give them the power and the courage to change their ways. 

When we find a compatible mate we receive favor from the Lord (Proverbs 12:4, 18:22, 19:14, 31:10-11). God calls the husband to love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33). These traits increase our intimacy with one another.

Sometimes, our mate turns out to be a disappointment to us. We have expectation and preconceived ideas about this person from our dating experience. However, once the marriage knot is tied, we see one another’s true self. We relax and often change altogether.

If these changes threaten our life and well-being, there are shelters created to protect us. Contacting a local police precinct will enable us to enlist the help of these secret places of refuge. These new habits adopted by our mate may not be life-threatening, but annoying and discouraging. 

In this case, we can respectfully communicate how we really feel. Many a spouse would change behavior in a heartbeat if they knew that their behavior grieves us. We can also help one another to brainstorm about alternative behaviors, or we can simply accept each other just as we are. 

Prayer:

Father God, two people living together is quite a challenge to any relationship. Help us to meld into one flesh by vulnerably expressing how we truly feel, by allowing each other the right to some autonomy, by making time to grow together as a couple, and by cherishing each other’s place in our life.

Teach us to serve one another in love, just as Jesus serves His Bride. He is our example in all things, and we can grow spiritually by imitating His behavior. Have Your Spirit convict us when we are inappropriate, to show us how to change, and to give us Your wisdom for living as a testimony of Your Agape love on this earth.

Thought for the Day:

In marriage, we serve one another in love, encourage and complement each other, genuinely care about our mate, and spend time sharing our heart with one another every single day; we grow in unison as we humble our self, lighten each other’s load in life, pray together for one another, and do not take each other’s short-comings personally.

Out to Change Our World

Achieving more for our self in life is the dream every teenager launches with into adulthood. We go after international fame, corporate advancement, the perfect car and home, a higher education, the love of our life, our particular hobbies, and improving world change.

One by one we may achieve these goals, but they never satisfy us when we attain them, and some of them prove to be impossible to accomplish or to sustain. We may replace these failed dreams with new ones, only to wake up one day equally disappointed with them as well.

We end up feeling disillusioned, angry, and sometimes even hopeless. We turn to addictions for self-medication, and we grasp at new experiences in order to fill the aching loneliness within. We ignore God’s attempts to draw us to Himself.

What we do not realize, or what we will not humble our self enough to admit, is that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is our only true salvation. We reject His plan for our life, and we alter our dreams to include new worldly pursuits.

We reject the echoes of the voice of our dear sweet grandmother, our dedicated parent, our loving church leader, and even the comforting voice of God’s Holy Spirit who is attempting to draw us into a life of faith in God’s faithfulness. Yet, God continues to woo us to Himself each day of our life.

If we ever do submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, He has perfect plans to use us for His glory, for furthering His Kingdom on the earth, and for changing our world eternally. We will stop reaping negative aspects that we used to sow, and we will start amassing the continual blessings of our bountiful and generous Father God.

Prayer:
Father God, humble us by Your mighty hand, so that we will turn from controlling our life, and submit to Your Lordship instead. Our eyes have never seen, our ears have never heard, nor has our soul ever experienced the wonderful blessings that are in store for Your obedient children (1 Corinthians 2:9). We rejoice in Your provision and protection for us each and every day.

Thank You for also providing for generations of our offspring in years to come, just because of our submission to Your loving guidance and wisdom (Psalm 105:8; Deuteronomy 7:9; Exodus 20:6). We disregard our human penchant to try to figure out and make human sense of things, because You defy human understanding, which is finite, and You are infinite, holy and eternal. We are so glad that You are.

Thought for the Day:

The cost of our pride and self-sufficiency is our eternal destination, because we condemn our self through our stubborn rejection of God’s Truths; when we vehemently refuse to believe that trusting in the salvation provided for us by Jesus’ crucifixion is our only hope of eternal life, we forfeit our right to become a child of God.

  • John 3:16-18; John 1:12

Daily Reminders

What do we need in order to survive our day? There are several fun items that will make us smile, encourage us on, remind us what is most important in life, and mature us spiritually (Psalm 5:11). 

Make a collection of these various items, and keep them in a prominent place, like an office desk drawer, or a pretty curio box: A Bible, Rubber band, Toothpick, Pen, Paper heart, Eraser, Thumb tack, Band aid, Penny, and a Child’s tea set. These will remind us often to focus on the positive that God does for us each and every day. 

The first is our Bible. This book never gets old or boring. God always uses His Word to speak to our heart about something that really matters to us. We may need a different translation in order to understand it better, but we should always choose a translation and not a paraphrase.

The next item that we need for spiritual growth is a rubber band to encourage us to stretch with the circumstances. Flexibility is a learned character trait. We often adopt a rigid schedule to attempt to keep our self safe; but life has a way of jumping right out of our boundaries.

God is always working in our life to protect and provide for us, especially during the lean times, or the difficult trials (1 Corinthians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11). We can feel joy in our heart and maintain a smile on our face regardless of our circumstances if we remain flexible.

Next, we need a toothpick to remember to commend the good in others. At times, we tend to pick on others. Often this is not intentional, but we are tired, irritated, seething with anger, overworked, rushed, etc. We find fault rather than compliment the good we see in others (Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

When was the last time you thanked your spouse for his/her help around the house; such as cooking your favorite meal, emptying the trash, providing you with clean clothes, cleaning out the leaves from the gutters, etc. These are big items that we often tend to take for granted.

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to use these and other items to remember to keep our eyes on You, rather than on our circumstances: 

  • A pen to keep a record of all Your blessings to us throughout our day (James 1:17). 
  • A paper heart to initiate loving gestures among our family, friends, associates and neighbors (1 Peter 4:8). 
  • An eraser to forgive and rub out the offenses, which come against us every day (Proverbs 19:11). 
  • A thumb tack to remind us to stick to Your plans, rather than to rely on human understanding (Ephesians 2:10). 
  • A band aid to prompt our memory about Your daily healing of all of our mental, emotional and physical wounds (Psalm 147:3). 
  • A penny to read, “In God we trust” so we do not trust in anyone or anything except You (Proverbs 3:5-6). 
  • A child’s tea set to encourage us to relax at various times during the day to avoid stress, to take time to deep breathe, and to praise You, our almighty and generous Lord (1 Peter 5:7).

Thought for the Day:

Praising God in and for our life is such a small gift to Him that does not take a mountain of technology or gobs of time, but it is so rewarding both to Him and for us; constantly remembering His gifts, and the lessons that He teach us is paramount for our spiritual growth.

Enslaved by the Culture

There are many interesting, thought-provoking, and well-meaning opinions in our culture today that easily enslave the unsuspecting victim. Of course, this has been the case since time began, because Satan is the father of all these lies (Genesis 3:1-5). Some call them, “Old age lies couched in New Age disguise.” 

Satan will use anything that he believes will appeal to the carnal mind. Culture is a way of life, as well as continuing values and traditions, and our historical heritage passed on from generation to generation. People part company, establish long-lived feuds, and are captured by the half-truths of these beliefs. 

Our way of life also changes from one era to another. Young people rebel against the trusted “norms”, and they want to put their own mark on society. They develop habits and ideals that differ from their parents’ way of thinking and acting. The moral decay of our society came from these deviations.

Wayward justice, sanctioned abortions, kickbacks and bribes, leaving their faith in God, greed, sexual perversions, graft, etc. are as anti-biblical as they come. Yet, people for ages have despised God’s Truths, and they condemn themselves by their own unbelief (John 3:18).

During Jesus’ lifetime, He established the concept of an organized body of Believers as His Church. This movement, fought over the years by various dictators, survived and spread during the passage of time. Authentic Believers are reaping His multitude of benefits to this day.

There is no reason for us to believe these fables and anti-Christ ideals. We have God’s Word to give us the wisdom, information, and goals that last for eternity. As we embrace God’s Truth, we find our life filling with blessings, peace and joy inspired by His Agape love for the whole world. 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for using Peter to birth Your church on the Jewish festival of Pentecost. Peter preached to the multitudes and many came to faith in Christ, because Your Holy Spirit caused them all to hear Your Truth in their own language (Acts 2:41). These 3,000 souls then spread Your Word in their own towns and villages, just as You commissioned Believers in all ages of time to continue to do. 

You also raised up Saul, who was captured by the culture of his day and time, and who traveled around persecuting, as well as executing these new Believers (Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-2). Then, Saul came face-to-face with the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:4-6). Thank You for giving us all a chance to accept Jesus as our Savior (John 3:16-18), and to enjoy Your presence with us and within us for eternity.

Thought for the Day:

Peter, Paul, James, Jude and many of the Disciples of Christ spent years preaching and teaching about Jesus and the resurrection; and God calls every Believer, even in this current era, to follow their example, and to share our faith in Jesus Christ with others throughout our lifetime.

Predicting the Future

In today’s world, people are very busy, always in a hurry, and desiring to know the future before it happens. Waiting on God is a foreign concept that is quickly rejected as a waste of time. Fortune cookies, daily horoscopes, and psychics are trusted more than God’s Word.

Our phone is a computer that we carry around with us in our pocket, and we consult it often; even speaking to “Siri” to quickly get data for us about a myriad of topics. However, God is not very pleased with our penchant to get information fast and effortlessly.

This excludes His design that we wait on Him – allowing patience to perfect us (Psalm 27:13-14; James 1:4). We fail to follow His Spirit’s guidance, and to trust only in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Proverbs 28:25; Proverbs 3:5-6). Yet, these proven methods are far more reliable than anything the mind of mankind can ever create.

God suggests that we do not consult a psychic or familiar spirit, because they defile us with demons that oppress and even possess us (Leviticus 19:31, 20:6). When we insist on this process, God turns His back on us and cuts us off from His people.

God vehemently objects to us training as a psychic or allowing a familiar spirit to use our body, soul or spirit (Leviticus 20:27). He also includes in this list: child abuse, witchcraft, fortune tellers, wizards, conjuring spells, serving as a medium or spiritist, or calling up the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

God’s Word says these are all an abomination to Him, and they come to us from satanic powers and demonic forces. Sure they “work” and are often spot-on in their predictions, but they use a source other than His plans, and they open our spirit to ungodly harassment and satanic possession.

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for the places in Your Word that give such specific advice against demonic sources of discovering answers to our eternal questions. Your Word is so full of proverbial advice, Godly wisdom, clear direction, and ideals that pertain to every area of life on this globe. You gave us Your Word and did not leave us defenseless or uninformed about how to succeed and to enjoy a fulfilled existence.

Teach us Your perspective about all things that we desire to know, so that we do not submit to Satan’s deception about our future. We trust only in You, and we do not need another being to influence our life through demonic sources. We give You all of the glory due to Your name, we thank You for Christ’s sacrifice to pay the penalty of our sins. We ask You to bring us ever closer to our intimate union with You, since You abide within us, as well as in the Heavens.

Thought for the Day:

The allure of satanic methods of predicting the future is often compelling, but they only bring destructive familiar spirits with them that oppress every area of our life from then on; trusting in God’s Spirit and Word is much more reliable and provides us with His peaceful fruit of righteousness instead of demonic oppression and eternal damnation.

– Hebrews 12:11; Leviticus 19:31, 20:6

Rooted and Grounded in Christ Alone

For a plant to flourish, it must be deeply rooted and grounded in good soil, receive water when needed, and have fertilizer at the appropriate times. We too draw our nourishment from Christ, as we sink our roots deeper in His precepts, and receive our nourishment from His presence in our life.

Our human abilities are rarely enough to perform the tasks, which God’s Spirit leads us to accomplish. That is why He gives us His grace that is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Through the trials of life, we learn to have faith in His faithfulness alone. We trust Him with our whole heart (Psalm 56:3-4).

During a period of crisis, we tend to question God’s intentions, motives and love for us. Fear shackles our steps and threatens to overwhelm us. Yet, every situation proves that surrendering to His will makes us victors over the oppression of fear and worry. He gives us His power, love and a stable mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

We receive Jesus as our Savior, live our life in Him, splay out our roots wider into His soil of life, allow Him to strengthen our faith, and give Him an abundance of praise and gratitude for who He is, what He has done for us, and what He continues to do for us on a daily basis (Colossians 2:6-7).

This occurs as we continually learn from His teachings, mirror His character to the world around us, immerse our self in His Holy Word, accept the length and width and breadth of His unconditional love for us, find comfort in His prophecies, and believe in His promises (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Daily Bible study, fellowshipping with other authentic Believers, praying without ceasing as we go about the duties of our day, trusting in His goodness, rejecting human wisdom, applying the truth of His Word in our life, etc. will all help us to mature in our faith in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We learn to rely more on Godly wisdom than human logic (Matthew 14:28-29). We walk to the edge of all of the light that we have, and then we take our first step into the dark unknown, trusting that He will place our feet on solid ground (Hebrews 11:1).

Prayer:

Father God, teach us that as the cry of our heart, the words of our mouth, the behavior of our actions, the attitude of our demeanor, etc. mirror Christ in us, we make an impact on the world around us, and we cause other people to hunger and thirst after You as well. We want to live as an example of Your love to our family and our community.

You always give us wisdom in times of conflict, courage to weather every storm, Your presence within us to endure every circumstance, and Your strength to make it through every issue we will ever face in life. Your promises encourage us, and infuse us with Your supernatural peace and joy. Our life is only complete and fulfilled as we grow in our intimacy with You.

Thought for the Day:

When I awake each new morning, I only want Jesus; whether I am alone or in a crowd, all I want is Jesus; whether I live or die, only Jesus can satisfy me; I want nothing that this world has to offer, I just want a deeper intimacy with the Trinity of God within me.

A Good Marriage – Letting Go and Letting God be God

Marrying someone who does not cherish and delight in us, who does not have a compatible world view or marital goals as we do, who shows little interest in what interests us, and who is quite capable of living their life without us, is marital suicide.

However, if we meet someone who supports us, is vulnerable enough to share his/her true feelings with us, who actually listens to us and considers our needs and desires before making decisions that affect us, who wants to improve our life by serving us as they serve the Lord, and who is willing to seek God’s will together for each day of our life, we can rest assured that our marriage will succeed.

Therefore, marrying the right person for the right reasons is of paramount importance to both of us. This makes learning to accept our spouse just the way he/she is much easier, and will provide our soul with much needed peace.

After we are married, we may discover that there are hidden issues between us that need to be addressed for our safety and well-being. These cannot be accepted and tolerated. A time of separation, for the purpose of reconciliation, is always recommended in these cases.

Trained counselors can help us to negotiate these troubled waters, if both partners are willing to change certain aspects of our attitude and behavior. If one partner refuses counseling, and sees no fault in their words or actions, then separation may also be the only real option.

In most cases, however, the trouble between us arises from our soul – due to our own past woundedness, as well as our unrealistic expectations of one another. We, or our mate, may attempt to change in order to please the other, but we usually revert right back to our former behavior. This frustrates us and makes us feel unloved.

However, working through these issues together helps us to abandon our unrealistic expectations, to dwell together with more compassion, and to develop a deeper sense of understanding of who we married. Our respect and acceptance of one another grows. This way, we serve one another in love.

We will not feel frustrated and irritated with our spouse’s mistakes and idiosyncrasies when we accept him/her from God’s perspective. Our whole-hearted support of our mate, and showing and feeling gratitude for their strengths, rather than focusing on and complaining about their faults, will improve our relationship and compatibility.

As we take responsibility for nurturing our self, and meeting our own needs in the same way that we minister to others; and at the same time, as we grow in our intimacy with God, we give God’s Spirit the time and opportunity to work His saving grace in our life, as well as in our spouse’s life.

Some of our needs will never be met by our mate, but God will teach us how to meet them for our self in other ways. He also arranges for those needs to be met by His love within us, and by His continual provision in our life. He may even choose to remove that need, and to give us a new focus for our life.

Prayer:

Father God, help us to understand that accepting one another’s faults and foibles will teach us more compassion for one another, and take the pressure, which disrupts our unity and intimacy, off our relationship. Remind us that the more we leave our marriage in Your capable hands, the greater are the chances that Your conviction can bring about the changes that we both need.

Show us that this joyful acceptance of our mate changes our attitude and the way that we communicate love and approval to one another for our strengths and our good qualities. Help us to see that our fulfillment in our life is not dependent on our relationship with a person, place or things, but should be solely tied to our unity with Your Godhead within us.

Thought for the Day:

The more we look to God to fulfill us in this life, the less we look to others for our happiness; our joy is in the Lord where it belongs, and He works out everything – even the most negative experiences – for our ultimate good; He also teaches us to serve one another in love, which turns into more love for Him and for each other.

– Matthew 25:40; Romans 8:28

Yoked with God

green grass field near sea under white clouds at daytime

Broken promises, stilted relationships, unexpected losses, crushed expectations, etc. will taint our happiness and contentment with our life and the people in it. These issues either have us running to the arms of our Lord, or curled up in bed in a fetal position, totally overwhelmed with depression and loneliness.

Pain, disillusionment, unfulfilled needs, financial ruin, tragic loss, etc. will debilitate us emotionally, mentally and physically. We subconsciously decide that God is not keeping up His end of our yoke with Him (Matthew 11:28-30), so we try to carry it alone.

We lose contact with the hand of God, and we attempt to fix things our self. However, we end up exhausted and overcome by grief, despair, anger, etc. Stubbornly, we refuse to reconnect with God, because He did not meet our preconceived expectations (Psalm 22:1; Habakkuk 1:2).

We either pridefully trudge on, adopt an addiction, or contemplate ending our life. We feel hopeless and alone. What we fail to realize is that we may turn our back on God, but He never ever, under any circumstances, leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

God is not indifferent to our difficulty, but is working on our behalf, even during the trying times (2 Corinthians 4:18). His love and goodness never fail us (1 Corinthians 1:9). God always plants the seed for a miracle in every trial, and one day we wake up to see the fruit of His provision.

Our Father God’s faithfulness teaches us to have faith in Him regardless of our circumstances. As we mature spiritually, we start to see His constant interaction with us, and we have the sudden awareness that we are never alone, because His presence abides within us (Hebrews 13:5).

When we attempt to control our life, it pops out of our grasp more often than not. Yet, when we realize that God has everything in His control, and that His ways are more beneficial to us than our human endeavors, we suddenly find our self entering His rest, and accepting His will for each moment that we live.

Prayer:

Father God, we often disagree with You when you allow some handicaps into our life. We want to live in a bed of roses, but we forget that even roses have thorns. Help us to grow in our faith in Your faithfulness, to learn contentment in good times and bad (Philippians 4:11-12), and to surrender the outcome of our experiences into Your loving hands.

Thank You for replacing our human failings with the fruit of Your Holy Spirit. When we let go, and allow You to have full control of our life, we experience Your peace and joy abounding in our soul. Lead us so that we can live as a city on the hill (Matthew 5:14), surrounded by Your glory and controlled and guided by Your Spirit. We give You all of the praise and honor that is due to Your holy name.

Thought for the Day:

We can ask our self if people see God reflected in our life, and if they realize that we have taken on His yoke instead of our own; do they see His peace revealed through our trials, His joy reproduced in our attitude, and our dependence on His Spirit rather than on our human resources?  

– Matthew 11:30

Balancing Our Life

In planning our to-do list, we often place items on it in the order of which we feel that they are the most important for us to accomplish each day. Personal goals, family needs, expectations from our self and others, obligations that we made, etc. will all influence what determines their importance.

The pressures of daily life, along with the unplanned surprises that life sprinkles through each day, can be daunting at times. We may feel overwhelmed, worried, fearful, weary, or even get downright depressed and despondent.

Attempting in our own strength to overcome issues never helps, because God is our only true “lifter of our head” (Psalm 3:3-4). Ignoring or censoring our true feelings ruins our life too, because this always makes trials harder to bear and affects our health and well-being.

Honest expression of our thoughts and emotions to the Lord, our prayer partners or our prayer journal, or our best friend will prevent them from crippling our behavior. We are then able to rid our mind of their intensity, and to turn over everything to our Father God for His wisdom and resolution.

In our efforts to care for the needs of others, it is also vitally important to balance our life by setting aside some “play time” for our self as well. Relaxing, pursuing our favorite hobby, watching sports or a movie on TV, time out with our family or friends, etc. are all dynamic remedies for those unexpected times, which try to cause us stress and overwhelming challenges.

It is vitally important for us to show as much compassion and care for our own needs as we do for the needs of others. When the day is done, we put aside our to-do list without regret or anxiety, and just add tomorrow’s demands to the bottom of the list.

Then, the next day, we consult the Lord for His input and order of importance for each item. God’s will for us eliminates the toxic poison of the immediate and unrelenting demands on our time, energy, and human resources. Walking in the Spirit gives us His anointing to do all things for God’s glory and by the direction of His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:

Father God, help us to stop putting undue pressure on our self to accomplish the unrealistic schedules that we make for our self and our family. Teach us to separate the good things in which we want to participate from the greatest events that are in the center of Your will for us to achieve. We want to eliminate from our life the highly toxic effects of stress, worry, and lack of sleep and relaxation.

Help us to congratulate and to encourage our self, rather than to criticize and belittle our genuine efforts. Teach us that we are a person too, and we can minister to our self in the same way that we serve one another. Help us to erect kind and loving boundaries between us and potential threats to our mental and emotional health. We pray to You without ceasing, because You are the only true Light, Love and Living Water of our life both now and for eternity.

Thought for the Day:

When we stop accepting into our life, the events, people, and circumstances that make us feel uncomfortable, anxious, and fearful, then we can victoriously walk in God’s Spirit through each trial we encounter with His perfect peace, boundless joy, and bright hope for our future.