Choosing to be Vulnerable

Too often I meet people who are destroyed by the unfaithfulness of people in their life. They are abused by a parent, disappointed by decisions made for them by those in authority over them, abandoned by a spouse, traumatized by infidelity, or overwhelmed by grief from some loss in their life.

 

Through life’s trials, I have learned that all people are inherently untrustworthy. You and I fall into that category as well. We never know how we will act or react to a moment of temptation and weakness. Yet, God calls us to love unconditionally.

 

If we withhold trust and love from others because we are wounded or fear the potential of being hurt, we cheat our self. We erect walls around our emotions and function in life from our mind only.

 

We refuse to feel anything because life is too painful for us. We do not emotionally invest in anyone, not even our spouse, children or church family. We simply show love by doing acts of service for them.

 

This attitude makes us feel like we are a success and doing our duty to others. Yet, this is a substitute at best – failing to fulfill us at the deepest levels of our soul.

 

This anxious arrogance actually makes us more vulnerable and increases our load of unwanted emotional baggage. We collect the incidents of abuse in our soul and hold grudges, forgiving with our mind but never from our heart.

 

God is the only entity in life that we can truly trust. He always has our best interest at heart. Even if He disciplines us or allows life to bruise us, He never allows life to totally break us (Isaiah 42:3).

 

This makes life worth the risk of allowing our self to be vulnerable to hurt, in order to experience the joy of unfettered love and acceptance. We can even more freely love our self if we allow our self to love others (Mark 12:30-31).
Prayer:

Father God, our soul can only find our true and complete rest in You alone. You are our only salvation and constant comfort and strength. You alone are our rock and fortress. No matter what life throws at us, we will never be shaken as long as we keep our focus on You (Psalm 62:1).

 

Remind us that it is easier to forgive others when we realize that they are as vulnerable and human as we are. We can actually expect to be wounded by other people, but it hurts less when we have our faith in You rather than in our fellow sojourners in this life. You give us Your agape love to share with the world and it is healing and complete.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is our only help and shield from the inherent pain life brings (Psalm 33:20), because He alone is our strength in times of trouble (Psalm 37:39), and our courage in this insecure world (Psalm 130:5); we wait in silence before Him and find our hope only from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

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Emotional and Mental Health – Healing our Thoughts and Emotions

It is healthy for us to take an inventory of our thoughts and feelings every day (John 7:24). This prevents negative thoughts and emotions from piling up in our soul and exploding at the least provocation.

 

Satan’s lies, our own insecurities and neurosis from our past, and the world’s judgment on us keep us captive to negative thinking. Yet, God’s Word admonishes us to take our thoughts captive in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

We tend to dwell on this temporal earth embroiled by human reasoning and trapped by the hour glass of time – still eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and attempting to save our self (Genesis 2:17, 3:5).

 

These negative constraints affect our thoughts and emotions. We attempt to improve our self, but whatever is conceived by the flesh can be aborted by the flesh. We live on a hamster’s wheel – always running, but getting nowhere fast. However, there is hope for us in God (Psalm 63:2:5; Romans 15:13).

 

God chose us and loved us while we were still sinners (John 15:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8). At salvation, He makes us His Children and co-heirs with Jesus (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17). His Spirit is building us into His house (Hebrews 3:6).

 

We cannot craft any lasting changes to our character in order to earn His love. He makes us clean – not by our good deeds and intentions, but by the blood of Christ (John 15:3; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Psalm 127:1).

 

Jesus makes us wise, righteous, redeemed and a new creation; so that we glory in the Lord rather than to take the credit (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Christ in us continually draws us into a more intimate union with Himself and our Father (Colossians 1:20). We simply obey (John 14:15).

 

Prayer:

 

Father God, Your love frees us from doubt and condemnation, which are fed to us by our own insecurities, the world’s condemnation and Satan’s lies. Please draw our loved ones away from the seduction of this world, deliver them from the lies of the devil, and allow them to feel Your love and conviction cascading over them like a waterfall.

 

In You there is no shame for our failings and idiosyncrasies, only love and acceptance just the way we are (Romans 5:8). Your Spirit perfects us through a lifetime of sanctifying exercises (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You make us one with You and Jesus Christ through His residing presence and Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in us until You become our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is one with us in spirit and in truth; and He brings us into His rest in His perfect peace and love as we keep our soul focused on Christ in us. – Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 26:3

 

From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

Health for the Body of Christ

God’s plan for humanity is not a conglomeration of various unrelated events with a hodgepodge of results. It is as orderly and detailed as the planets in orbit around the sun.

 

God arranged the planets to all sit at just the right angle and spacing, especially the earth. Our world tilts at the exact slant it needs to support life. Its composition consists of the perfect combination of chemical elements and matter to ensure our existence.

 

King Jesus is also establishing His Kingdom on the earth in order to physically abide with everyone who is humble enough to accept His call on their life. He incorporates us into His Body of Believers throughout generations and nations from the beginning of time.

 

God designed His Body so that when one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Unfortunately, Satan makes sure that his character attributes of jealousy, covetousness and pride steal these ideal circumstances from us.

 

This causes God’s Body to operate dysfunctionally, to think more of our self than anyone else, to keep our own priorities as our focus and to lack any concern for those around us who, by their own choices (John 3:18), are lost and destined to spend eternity in hell.

 

Many people spend more time on vacations than in service to God’s Body; more money on their toys and gadgets than on the ministries of the church which promote God’s Kingdom, and more focus on their own agenda and endeavors than on the will of God.

 

They often reject one church Body for another, divorcing their former church family without one regret. They disfigure God’s Body – like an eye rolling down the path of life, leaving one church with only one eye and their next church with more than the two eyes it needs (1 Corinthians 12:14-22).

 

Sometimes, disgruntled people refuse to attend any church at all, despising a part of the Bride of Christ, which Jesus gave His life to redeem (2 Corinthians 11:2). They cut themselves off from the fellowship and blessings of their church family.

 

At times, certain people in our church Body may exasperate us or are irritating and hard to live with, but Christ is patient with us (Romans 5:8), and we can allow the fruit of God’s Spirit to help us to be patient with His Body as well (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we determine to put our self first, to divorce Your Bride, or to stir up trouble with gossip and dissention, this says more about our character than the short-comings within Your Body. Help us to attain spiritual maturity through Christ in us, so that we can love Your Bride unconditionally and to serve with tireless devotion in the church where You plant us (Luke 6:32).

 

Your grace enables us to love others as Christ loves us, sacrificially, patiently and selflessly. You do not require us to “like” anyone else, but You do expect us to love them with the love of Christ within us. Help us to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, by stepping up and serving Your Bride where we see areas of need.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our Great Physician is a skilled surgeon who continually operates on the heart of each of us, to give us new life in Him in order to resolve life’s most complex issues, to bring peace in the more tumultuous circumstances and to draw us to the truth of His Word as we all continually abide in His presence.

No Longer a Sinner – Reaching Perfection through Christ in Us

Standing alone, we are not sinless, because we are not equal to God. We cannot trust in our self for salvation (Proverbs 28:26; John 15:5). Righteousness is not attained by human self-effort (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

The shelves of self-help books in the stores can give us a clue about what we need to change, and we may even discipline some character flaws out of our personality. However, we cannot perfect our self (2 Corinthians 3:5).

 

Paul chronicles his struggle with sin and death in Romans 6-7. In his desperation as a wretched human being, he calls out for deliverance (Romans 7:19).

 

It is then that He realizes that the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ our Lord already delivered us from bondage to the law of sin and death (Romans 7:24-25, 8:2).

 

God gives us His grace and saves us through faith in Jesus’ work on Calvary’s cross (John 1:17; Ephesians 2:8). We no longer need to focus on sin or the world, but on the righteousness of Christ in us, who is our hope of living in eternal glory (Colossians 1:27).

 

Jesus in us already overcame sin, death and the devil by His death and resurrection (Colossians 3:15; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). Therefore, God’s Spirit changes us over our lifetime by His anointing in our spirit, soul and body, (Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

We walk in His ways by His Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:27). We simply heed God’s conviction, obey His direction and live through faith in His faithfulness, so that we are able to walk in His holiness one moment at a time (Romans 1:5; 16:26).

 

Prayer:

Father God, create in us a spotless heart, and renew a righteous spirit within us (Psalm 51:10). Work in us according to Your good pleasure and perfect us until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, 2:13). Give us Your power and anointing to accomplish Your will in the earth each moment of our day (Ephesians 3:16).

 

Thank You that You already perfected our spirit, because we are born again by Your Spirit – through justification; once we see Jesus, perfection will come to our body through glorification; and You perfect our soul – our mind, choices and emotions – from one stage of glory to another through a lifetime of sanctification.

 

Thought for the Day:

Christ in us is greater than both our carnal nature and also all of the powers of darkness in the world. – I John 4:4

 

 

Victorious Living

In this life, we often struggle with victory and are overcome by negative circumstances and trials. We focus on the negative aspects and surrender to Satan’s lies, ending in depression and defeat. We cannot allow the devil to win victories in our life.

 

If we consciously embrace the fact that we are blood-bought children of God, we get a glimpse of what it means to live in abundance in body, soul and spirit. We find this life of freedom only through total submission to Christ in God.

 

God is our Father and He made Jesus our all, who is above all – even the angels – and lives in every authentic Believer. He also lives through us as we totally surrender our plans, goals and desires to Him.

 

Jesus and our Father are one (John 10:30); and in Christ we too are one with Jesus and our Father God (John 17:21), led by the Holy Spirit and fulfilled in both this life and the next (Galatians 5:15-25). It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

 

Jesus came to live, suffer and die so that we might have abundant, victorious life on earth and for eternity (John 10:10). We are born of the flesh and are hindered by the flesh, but as authentic Believers we are also born of the Spirit (John 3:6).

 

We cannot see the wind, but we can see the effects of the wind. In this same way, we cannot see the Trinity at this time, but we can see and feel the effects of their presence within us and as they use us to further God’s Kingdom on this earth (John 3:8).

 

Jesus made the point with the rich, young ruler that no one is good regardless of how closely we keep the precepts of the law. Jesus even told the young man that in His humanity, He was not good without the Holy Spirit within Him. Only as we recognize God’s presence in us can we accomplish anything for the glory of God (Luke 18:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You call all of us who are weary and heavily burdened to come to You to find rest – not as this world gives, but only as You supernaturally give us in abundant supply. As we share Your yoke, we learn from You and You shoulder and take the burden of our load of worries and cares and give us Your light and easy yoke in its place (Matthew 11:28-30).

 

You are our God of peace and you wholly sanctify us as we totally surrender our life and our burdens to You. We live a victorious life of abundance in You. You preserve our spirit, body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – and make us blameless when we stand before You at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

 

Thought for the Day:

God is faithful, and He calls us to Himself and provides us with eternal salvation for our entire body, soul and spirit now and throughout eternity. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

 

 

Abiding in Christ

Salvation comes in stages. If we happily camp around the salvation of our spirit, we miss the glory of the sanctification of our soul. One day we will also experience the glorification of our body when Christ appears for His Saints (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

 

Once we realize that the divinity of Christ and all of the power of the complete triune Godhead live within every Born Again Believer, a new enthusiasm produces constant praise from our lips to God’s ears (2 Peter 1:3).

 

We no longer view our self as a grubby worm inching around in the world of selfishness and sin. Instead, we see our self as beautiful butterflies soaring in the Heavenly, spiritual realm of life.

 

God calls His elect and then reveals Himself to and in us. He has a purpose for each of our lives (Ephesians 1:11). He loves us with His abundant, unfading and everlasting love (Psalm 25:6; Jeremiah 31:3).

 

We are totally dependent upon Jesus for our direction, health and provision moment by moment throughout the day (Ephesians 1:9; Philippians 2:12-13). Through our connection to the Vine, the life of Christ flows through us by His Spirit and we produce much fruit for the Kingdom of God (John 15:8).

 

Through our union with Christ, we shed the shackles of our sin nature and submit to the dealings and leadings of God’s Spirit in our life (1 Corinthians 1:30). As branches in the Vine of Christ, we experience God as our husbandman.

 

He prunes the flesh from us so more spiritual fruit may grow (John 15:1, 5). We walk out of the bondage to carnality and into the glorious freedom of the sons of God (Romans 8:21).

 

Jesus is our center and God is the focus of our life. We seek to do His will in our job, community, church, extended family and home. If we walk in the darkness of self and sin, we stumble and fail in all of our attempts (John 11:10).

 

As we walk in the light of Christ, we find fulfillment in living out His will for our life (1 John 1:7). God’s wisdom, grace, love and supernatural abilities reside within us in Jesus Christ and are always available to meet all of our needs and to walk in God’s will for us (1 Corinthians 1:30).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in You throughout the day, Your wisdom, grace, love and peace manifest in our life and out into the world around us. As we abide in You, You provide us with a dedicated life full of the wisdom, strength and Godly conviction, which we need to further Your Kingdom in our world.

 

We look forward to the day when we can also walk in Your power, so You can make a true difference in others through our life. As we make every effort to walk in peace with You, You renew our soul and make us blameless and spotless at Your coming (2 Peter 3:14). Our perseverance in our walk with You, guarantees that we will not stop short of Your glorious riches, which You prepared for us before time began (Romans 9:23).

 

 

Thought for the Day:

Undistracted devotion to God allows us to tap into all of His power and majesty in order to live our life as Elijah, Moses and Enoch did; and we will steadily walk into complete maturity in Christ. – James 1:4