Improving our Quality of Life

We clutter our life by collecting more than we need and things we rarely use. This lack of order effects our soul and spirit as well. We feel confusion within and are troubled by negative emotions because of the chaos.

 

A good rule to follow to prevent this malady is to make sure everything you purchase has a place and to keep everything in its place. Material possessions do not make us any happier and often contribute to our depression when they irritate us with clutter.

 

Keep each room sparsely furnished and make sure you have enough drawers, cabinets, closets and shelves to keep everything organized. If not, give it away to a friend or a charity thrift store.

 

This makes cleaning easier and more attractive to our soul, because we do not have to push the clutter around in order to dust or clean the floors. Seeking material possessions never really makes us happy.

 

We also feel more out of control if we reap too much debt in response to our spending. We tend to feel like a victim and ignore our personal responsibility in our problems.

 

Investing our life and finances in people, ministry and furthering God’s Kingdom is much more rewarding then spending it on more possessions. Mingling with our church family keeps us aware of their circumstances and burdens that we can help to relieve.

 

Prayer:

Father God, giving is a tradition during more than the Christmas season. Your generosity and love are ours all year around; and as we share them with others, we put a smile on every face, including our own.

 

Revive our Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10) with Your wisdom, love, peace and joy all through the year. Make us an instrument of Your love and a channel for Your peace on earth and in the hearts of others throughout our lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

Surrendering our budget, activities, thoughts and feelings to the Lord will keep us in a positive mood, which attracts more friends and improves our influence over our own life and the ministries in which we participate with our church family and in our community.

 

 

A Good Marriage – Common Ground

Winning is not the ultimate prize of life; it is the manner in which we finish the race that counts the most. It is often the last straggler across the finish line that receives the most attention, because they persevered to the very end.

 

Winning an argument is not necessary to feel validated either. We can concede that we are wrong, if indeed we are, without any shame or recrimination.

 

We have a viewpoint that differs from our employer’s, friend’s, neighbor’s, child’s, parent’s or spouse’s perspective; but no less right or wrong than theirs.

 

There is nothing heroic about destroying a marriage, because we soon realize that we were acting as pawns on Satan’s game board, playing right into his hands and wreaking havoc for generations to come.

 

If both parties in a disagreement are willing to bear with one another and to lay our life down for each other, there is always a way to peacefully resolve all issues and to avoid fighting and drama.

 

Neither of us is the enemy, we are simply fellow sojourners in this life with equal rights and privileges in the family of God. Quickly apologizing from the heart for any hurt we cause during a disagreement goes a long way in keeping unity in our relations.

 

Repairing our relationships is so much more mature than rending them in half and going our separate ways – leaving a trail of broken hearts and lives behind us. A trained counselor can help us to negotiate our differences.

 

Seeking wisdom from God’s Word and His Spirit during times of prayer can also help us to breach any gaps in our unity. We negotiate until we find common ground on which to stand.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You remind us not to separate what You bind together. You admonish us not to break any vow that we make, but to honor our commitment to one another with charity, patience and kindness. You want us to work together to find an equitable solution to any conflicts in our marriage, as well as in our affiliations at work and in Your Body.

 

Give us Your wisdom to maintain peace and to show Your agape love to those who wound us; to turn the other cheeks and to bear with one another’s idiosyncrasies and foibles. Give us patience to love one another as Christ loves the church; so we can represent living sacrifices as a testimony to an unbelieving world.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is nothing heroic in winning at the cost of someone else’s expense; but in laying down our life and serving one another with the love of our Father toward us.

 

A Happy Marriage – Simplifying Life

Happily ever after is a misnomer. Marriage is tough by any standards. Some marriages are better than others, but we all struggle with disagreements from time to time. Let’s face it, we even frequently argue with our self.

 

Arguing is not really a negative issue. It is how we argue that makes it a problem. We can mildly disagree, vehemently disagree or destructively disagree. These destructive fights tear the fabric of our marriage, which affects our society as a whole.

 

Family life is stressful at best and almost impossible at its worst. We allow our children to be involved in more activities than they can bear, which puts a strain on the whole family.

 

Attempting to watch 4 different ball games played by 4 different children at 4 different gyms or parks all played at the same time is an example of the crazy conflicts that can stress us out.

 

The best rule of thumb is to sign up our children for one extra-curricular activity at a time, and to make sure that their schedules do not conflict. If they are interested in various hobbies and venues, this will be so much easier.

 

The financial strain on marriages today is enough to break the back of the strongest couple. With both partners working fulltime, the stress of homemaking and child rearing is also daunting, especially if everyone needs their own room, TV and smart phone.

 

Simplifying life can be overwhelming, but will drastically reduce the amount of stress on the family. With a more fluid schedule, we have more time to enjoy each other’s company.

 

Spending time together allows relationships to evolve on the same level and in more mutually satisfying ways. We weather the shifting winds of life as a family rather than alone.

 

Staying healthy emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually demands that we follow God’s will for our individual and corporate life. He has a perfect plan that sustains us through troubled waters and allows these trials to strengthen rather than to dissolve our relationships.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the only way to achieve lasting peace and joy in our life is to follow Your Spirit’s direction each moment of the day. As we increase our intimacy with You, our intimacy with others improves as well. Teach us to keep our focus on our own fallacies and idiosyncrasies rather than allowing our spouse’s issues to take precedence in our mind.

 

Remind us that we tend to blow their faults out of proportion unless we humbly compare them with our own flaws. Please change us from the inside out; keep us healthy in body, soul and spirit; strengthen us as individuals, a family and a society. Allow us to be that shining beacon of light to help others avoid the jagged rocks on the coastline of life. Help us to continually work on changing one aspect of our life at a time that will improve our relationships.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we take a searching moral inventory and decide what will make us more fulfilled as a Christian and as an individual, we will strengthen our personal life, our marriage and our family unit, and insure that we can better respond to the grace of God in the midst of every conflict.

 

 

Emotional and Mental Health-Freedom from Negative Emotions

Journaling is a lost art form and mental health tool. It takes many avenues of expression and can be a variety of sizes and styles. Whatever fits the personality and needs of the journalist.

 

This is a method of documenting the events in our life and dealing with pent up thoughts and emotions. When we do not express our thoughts in words to a mentor or on paper in a journal, they will erupt from our soul at inopportune times.

 

Sit in a quiet place and journal all of your thoughts and feelings. In doing this, you are emptying yourself of yourself.

 

Do not talk, sing, pray, watch TV, listen to music or answer your phone…just listen to your soul – your thoughts and feelings – and wait on the Lord to come and fill you with His comforting Holy Spirit.

 

It may take hours…it may take days…it may take weeks or months as it took me to get to the root of the issues which plague our soul. This all depends on how much inner and outer clutter is in our life.

 

We cannot be discouraged if we are not successful when we start journaling. It takes time to develop a new habit. Just remember that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our life and our God is the God of second chances.

 

As we continue to journal each and every day, it will not take long to get to the root of the issues causing us unrest. Then we can follow the Serenity Principle and either deal with the issue(s) or place it in God’s capable hands to resolve in His timing and way.

 

Once we finish with our journal and go about our day, we can stop what we are doing at the first sign of unrest in our soul or spirit- even if we just duck into the bathroom for a few minutes.

 

Taking time to pray allows God to reveal the source of these negative thoughts and emotions. Then, once God shows us the origin of our anxiety, anger or other negative emotion, we can repent or ask for God’s help.

 

He may lead us to forgive, to change our focus about the situation or to serve the person, which is hurting us. It also helps to switch our focus to an eternal perspective and set boundaries around anything from this temporal world, which is causing us trouble.

 

Does our issue really matter in the overall scheme of eternity? If not, we can let it go and let God teach us to think like He does about the issue.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we ask You to give us Your wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which to leave in Your skillful hands. Give us the strength to deal with the issues that You reveal are our responsibility. Then help us to turn the rest over to You.

 

Help us to develop an attitude of acceptance about them. If we cannot change them, then we can praise You for them, in them, and through them, even for the negative things. By doing this, we end up walking in complete serenity and in the dynamic power of Your Holy Spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

What is it in your life that is causing you a problem right now?  Can you do something about it? Then, do it! If not, then change your focus and give the problem to God.

 

The Tyranny of Control

“Control Freaks” develop this habit out of fear and a desire to stay safe. They were deeply wounded at one time by physical, verbal and mental abuse. They were not given a “say-so” in the decisions made that affected their life.

 

Therefore, they decided to take control as soon as they got older. Now they are hyper-vigilant and over-reacting in their approach to life. They believe that “their” way is the only safe way; and therefore, the best way to do things and to make decisions.

 

They vehemently fight against anyone or thing that threatens their carefully choreographed routine in life. They hide behind anger in order to stay in control and to feel safe.

 

Most wounded people will adopt a mindset of attempting to control everything about the people in their life too – even when another’s decisions have no real effect on their life.

 

Our only hope of salvation from this demonic plague of fear, self-preservation and control is to realize that God has a perfect plan for our life. No matter what terrors we experience, God is with us in the midst of them, and worthy of all of our praise.

 

We can trust God with our life. No matter what terrors we experience, God is with us in the midst of them. His presence sustains us and provides for us. He is worthy of all of our praise.

 

With our confidence in God’s faithfulness, we speak up only when someone’s decision has an immediate bearing on our life, and we allow others reap the consequences of their own decisions. We mind our own business and pray for others.

 

We have our confidence in God alone, and that gives us peace and calm regardless of circumstances. We never insist on our own way, but we do insist on finding a Plan C when we and the significant people in our life cannot agree on their Plan A or our Plan B.

 

If they are unwilling to compromise their plans with us, then we give them the freedom to make their decisions; but then we prayerfully and calmly make our own decisions in order to keep our self safe from reaping the consequences of their decisions.

 

God has a perfect will for our life. We find it by praying without ceasing; we walk in it by walking in the Spirit, so we do not succumb to the idiosyncrasies and neurosis of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25); and then, we reap the rewards of a life, which is faithful to His love and His will.

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is not natural for us humans to obey You or to rely on You from the depth of our heart. Our emotions are fickle and shallow at best. Yet, if we obey Your Biblical mandates, we prove that we love You and are willing to walk in Your ways.

 

If we surrender our will, desires, dreams and goals to Your Spirit’s direction, and live in Your will each moment of our day, we live a fulfilled, spiritual and successful life. We will prosper mentally, emotionally, financially and physically as well (John 14:15).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is healing from this unresolved trauma in the presence of God and our Savior Jesus Christ; this world is dysfunctional and trials are inescapable, but surrendering the pain of the past to the Trinity for healing is the only way to get completely free from its tyranny in our life.

 

God’s Transforming and Conforming Power

God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies us throughout our lifetime, until we are perfected according to His standard of the fullness of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13). He makes us holy, even as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

 

We are fully human, but Christ in us is fully divine. God’s Spirit faithfully transitions us from one stage of God’s glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). He conforms us with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2).

 

God’s Spirit slowly matures us until we completely share in the divine nature of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13). We have the same chance, which Jesus did, to live a spirit-filled life.

 

Our identity is no longer dependent on our accomplishments or our human standing in this world. We are a King’s kid (Galatians 3), a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5) and heirs with Christ of the Kingdom of God (Romans 8).

 

God is a shield for us and gives us His glory to replace our humanity. He hears our cries for help, and He lifts up our head when we are discouraged and alone. He hears us even from His holy hill (Psalm 3:3-4).

 

We are different people from what we were before we trusted Jesus for salvation; and therefore, we make a huge difference in this world. People recognize that our attitude and demeanor are unique; they sense an aura of peace and kindness that is unlike their other acquaintances.

 

We mature in Christ as we relinquish total control of our life to Him. We trust God completely to direct our life according to His will and way, even if it is contrary to our human reasoning and understanding (Revelation 3:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are constantly calling, guiding and encouraging us to trust You with more and more of our life. Thank You for opening and closing doors which would divert us from Your chosen path for our life. Help us to wait patiently on You and not to jump ahead or lag behind Your divine timing.

 

Arrange divine appointments for us to impact lives in the sphere of our influence and to help them to come to a saving knowledge of Your Son, Jesus. Remind us to put our mind on heavenly things and to reject the carnal concerns with which the devil attempts to side track and discourage us. Help us to realize that Christ in us is greater than Satan and all of his ruses, lies and demons.

 

Thought for the Day:

When our soul is discouraged, anxious and overwhelmed, we can put our trust in God, and praise Him for what He has already done in our life (Psalms 42:11), and He will change our attitude, thoughts, feelings to line up to His Word and the fruit of His Spirit.

 

The Lord Preserves His Faithful

The Lord preserves His faithful, those who love Him and keep His commandments (Psalm 31:23). He does not want us to obey for His sake as much as He does for our own sake.

 

We avoid so many troubles and trials when we do things His way. After all, Father really does know best. He created us for His purpose and when we walk in His will, our life proceeds so much more smoothly and effortlessly.

 

Our soul finds rest in God alone. He is our only rock and salvation, our fortress that prevents life from shaking our faith. We have strong courage to face life’s issues, because God strengthens our heart as we hope in Him (Psalm 31:23, 62:1).

 

God is our hiding place and He preserves us in trouble by encompassing us with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). Whenever we are afraid, we can trust in Him (Psalm 53:3).

 

Yet, He allows the proud and arrogant who refuse to believe in Jesus for salvation to reap the results of their choices – even to the point of eternity in the fires of damnation (John 3:18; Psalm 31:23).

 

We are crucified with Christ and share in His death to sin, even though we still live on this earth. Christ lives in us and we live by His faith in us (Galatians 2:20). We are dead to this world and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).

 

As we delight our self in the Lord, God puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). We make the effort it takes to clear our heart and mind of things of this world, and instead to love the Lord with all of our heart.

 

We walk in His ways, keep His commandments and cling only to Him. He orders our steps and He delights when we walk in His will (Psalm 37:23). Even if we fall in spirit, soul or body, we shall not be entirely cast down, or cast out of His Kingdom, because God holds us in His hand (Psalm 37:24).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to be risen with Christ and for helping us to seek and set our affections and desires only on heavenly, eternal aspects (Colossians 3:1-3). You make our steps firm, when You delight in our thoughts, words and deeds.

 

Always keep us in the center of Your will; not drawn away by our fleshly desires, but kept on the straight and narrow road, designed to protect us by its simple parameters. Allow us to hear Your still small voice whispering “this is the way, walk you in it.” We always want You to delight in us, and in our ways; so You will keep our steps firm and our footing sure (Psalm 37:23).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s river of salvation protects us in any fiery trial, and He alone is worthy of all of our trust.