A Positive Lifestyle

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). With each sunrise, God’s mercies are fresh, new and rejuvenating (Lamentations 3:22-24). This is true whether we are in the midst of a hail storm of trials, or free of all worry and stress.

 

God sends us hugs throughout every single day: the alignment of numbers on the digital clock, a new flower in our garden, the sunrise and set, a formation in the clouds, a stranger’s smile, an unexpected check in the mail, our neighbor’s manicured lawn and flowerbeds, etc.

 

We can even create positive experiences for our self, our mate and our children to enjoy throughout the day – refreshing treats that minister to the body and soul.

 

Rather than listening to the negative self-talk in our mind, programmed there by Satan’s lies and people in our past, we can look in the mirror and tell our soul what we like about our self – our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual assets.

 

We can give joy away if we smile at a stranger, make a new friend, start a new ministry, and practice encouraging others. This brings joy to our soul as well as theirs. Here are other ideas.

 

Plan the menu for the week full of your favorite foods. Take a break from your perpetual diet and eat a pizza full of toppings you enjoy, and indulge in one soft drink that was your favorite as a child.

 

Adopting a pet gives us a focus outside of our self and saves the life of an abused or unwanted animal. Write cards or letters, emails and make phone calls to shut-ins, neglected family members and those in the hospital.

 

Starting a new hobby that we have always wanted to try or auditing an interesting class at the local college improves our soul. Listening to uplifting music in the comfort of our recliner or even dancing around the house as we dust will still our troubled soul.

 

We can take time to lay flat in silence on the couch or bed and take deep breaths – this releases much needed endorphins and oxygen into our bloodstream.

 

Watching a comedy on TV or in a movie will help us to laugh and lighten our mood. Spending time in nature, walking through the grass in bare feet or gardening will help us to connect with the beneficial chemical output of the earth.

 

Think of your own ways to enhance the joy in your life. We can even start a support group with “Secret Santa’s”, prayer partners to share our burdens, and Bible study groups in our neighborhood. The list is endless.

 

Prayer:

Father God, too often we allow Satan to drown us in the worries, stress and burdens in life. We forget that You are our burden bearer and our Provider. You sustain us through good times and bad. You encourage us with Your Word and by Your Spirit. You teach us to encourage one another.

 

Remind us that Your Spirit abides within us with constant words of love and affirmation, and Your Word is full of verses written by people who experienced similar circumstances to our own. Your Word is a light to our path and a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105). We love you with all of our body, spirit and soul – our feelings, choices and emotions.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our positive, Christ-centered focus initiates the joy, strength, inspiration and creativity in our life, which all come from God’s Holy Spirit within us.

 

 

 

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Getting Off the Fence

There is a popular saying that runs the gamut of Christian circles every dozen or so years. It claims that we do not want to be “so spiritually minded that we are no earthly good”.

 

That is a lie from the pit of hell. Look at Noah…He preached for 120 years, and he and his sons spent much of that time building an ark big enough to protect anyone who wanted to be saved.

 

However, since it had never rained before this time, people scoffed at them as if they were so spiritually minded they were no earthly good.

 

Many wanted to get aboard the ark after it started raining, but it was too late. God already closed the door (Genesis 7:16). A shallow consent to accept Christ in times of trouble brings no real change to a life and requires no total surrender for the glory of God.

 

Many who claim the name of Christ are oblivious to the destruction they inflict upon the Kingdom of God by sitting on the fence and exhibiting carnal words and actions (Matthew 7:16-23).

 

Contrarily, authentic Christians can never be content with participating in ritualistic, religious motions. We seek relevance in every aspect of our life. Even our hobbies are Christ-honoring.

 

Our spirit and soul are grieved by anything that grieves Christ, because He dwells within us in all of His fullness. We refrain from participating in anything that is remotely sinful.

 

We exhibit the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which is the result of the refining fire of His sanctifying process in our life. We belong to Christ and we no longer live in the fleshly, carnal, worldly realm of life (1 John 3:9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, draw us by Your Spirit until we get off the fence and make a sincere and complete commitment to You and Your Kingdom on this earth. We grow in Christ and we are no longer in love with our self or addicted to sin. We lay down our idols – anything, which we want more than You. We submit to the total control of Your Spirit.

 

We remove our self from the throne of our life and put You in Your rightful place. We get off the fence and wholly commit our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We make a difference in Your Kingdom by following the leading of Your Spirit moment by moment. We fall more in love with Jesus with each passing day.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we serve our Lord, we show greater and greater enthusiasm as we allow His Spirit to lead us in service and obedience to Him.

 

 

 

My Hiding Place

 

Most people have a Happy Place. That one place on earth that makes them feel free, happy and safe. A place in nature, the mall, at home, a favorite restaurant, the back pew at the church facilities, etc.

 

Destruction can come to these natural places, however. They are illusive at best. Contrarily, if we find our Happy Place in the presence of God, it will never be destroyed. It goes with us wherever we go and no one can take it away from us.

 

Our Hiding Place in God preserves us from trouble. God comforts us with songs of deliverance in our spirit (Psalm 32:7). He keeps us safe as our shield, as we hope in His Word (Psalm 119:114).

 

His presence is a shelter and shade from the struggles and stresses which parch us, and a refuge from the storms of life (Isaiah 4:6). God shelters us from the tempests and gives us the refreshment of the waterfalls of His love and contentment during dry spells (Isaiah 32:2).

 

When disasters destroy our habitat and water floods our natural hiding place, He offers us the plumb line of righteousness and the measuring stick of His justice to help us to rebuild on the foundation of Christ in our life (Isaiah 28:17).

 

We hope in the promises of His Word and wait on His instructions when darkness surrounds us on every side (Psalm 18:11, 119:114). His presence provides us with a constant secluded place to keep us safe (1 Samuel 19:2).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that Satan will hide as a lion in his lair in order to catch the afflicted, many of whom he wounded from his constant assaults on their life (Psalm 10:9). He lies to us and we believe his corruption. Yet, You provide us with a hiding place from the destroyer (Isaiah 16:4).

 

At times, You will even use people to present us with a hiding place from life’s discouragements and insecurity (Deuteronomy 32:38). Yet, more often than not, if we look to the natural world, we trust in a lie for our safety and wellbeing (Isaiah 28:15). Keep us ever mindful of Your love, surround us with Your angels, and shower us with your blessings in the midst of this dry and desert land.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we hide the light of Christ within us, we fail to shine His saving grace to the world around us; so let us represent a city on a hill with a promise of a true and secure Hiding Place, as we offer solace to those God brings into our life (Luke 11:33).

 

 

 

Emotional and Mental Health – Limiting Anxiety

Life is insecure at best and terrifying at its worse. People say that bad things happen in threes, but at times in my life, I have counted five or six stressful catastrophes in a row.

 

I learned early on in life not to expect anything good to happen. That way, when good did happen, I was mildly pleased; but when it did not occur, I was not overly disappointed either.

 

As an authentic Believer, we learn to cast all of our anxious thoughts on God’s strong shoulders – to leave them in His benevolent heart and to have faith in His faithfulness instead of in people (Mark 10:22; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

As we turn our attention away from our self and onto helping other people, we continue to heal from anxiety. This brings inner peace because we help to ease another’s burdens and we find fulfillment in sharing our abilities and resources.

 

As we pray during each moment for God’s will and direction, we acknowledge that God is in control of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 4:6-8). This reduces anxiety quicker than any mantra or affirmation we can repeat.

 

God orders our steps and gives us the grace to enter into His rest (Hebrews 13:5). His presence in our life allows Him to provide serenity in anxious situations. He helps us to set priorities and to follow them.

 

This habit is comforting and provides us with a routine to which we can establish and adhere. Routine limits anxious feelings and defines our responsibilities according to the will of God, rather than our own stressful agenda.

 

I do not hide from life any longer. I know from experience that our Daddy God is faithful, I experience security by walking in His presence and praying without ceasing, and I find fulfillment and peace in the comfort of the shadow of His wings.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that prayer is not created for us to manipulate You or to demand that You do our bidding in our way and timing. Our communication with You is for our benefit, however; and we do not need to wait for a crisis, which we can no longer control before we come to You. We wait in silence until we discover Your will for us during each moment of our day.

 

Thank You for giving us Your peace, which transcends any comfort the world attempts to provide for us. You are only a prayer away; and yet we fail to avail our self to the intimacy of our union with You. Thank You for abiding within us with Your presence and for filling us with Your Spirit and fruit.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is not our puppet to manipulate according to our will, but our Savior and King whom we willingly serve according to His will and way; He is not obligated to grant our wishes, but He chooses to give us only the best that we need to live a fulfilling life.

 

High Calling of God

Every day, God gives us the opportunity to stop sowing the destruction of sin into our garden of life. He provides new and nurturing experiences for us to use the pieces of our eternal weight of glory to honor Him.

 

We press on toward the goal of the high calling of God in our life (Philippians 3:14), until our journey ends. This is when He transforms us into the image of Christ as we breathe our last earthly breath and enter our celestial home in heaven (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Until then, we spend our days in holy living, worshipping our true and living King, and abiding according to Biblical and eternal priorities. This occurs regardless of our trials and circumstances.

 

We count everything as joy, even when we fall into various temptations, knowing that the trial of our faith produces patience; then patience has her perfect way with us, teaching us to “let go and let God” have His way in our life (James 1:4).

 

When we walk in the flesh, we tax our spiritual, emotional and mental energy, which effects our physical energy as well. We divide our energy between carnal and spiritual concerns.

 

God wants to hold the preeminent place in our life in order to insure our success as we enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10). Then there will be no division in our soul and no stress on our physical well-being.

 

Happiness in this life requires a whole-hearted focus and commitment. We set our mind on the Kingdom of God and then He provides us with everything we need to experience fulfillment and success (Matthew 6:33).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Jesus gave His life at such a young age and died a cruel death in sacrifice upon the cross, so that I will never have to die the second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8). Because of You, my eternity is in Heaven’s glories rather than in hell’s torment.

 

You awake in me the desire to serve You all the days of my life. I rejoice in You, my God and my Savior. I enter Your presence with the confidence of a child, and I dwell in Your Holy Place forever (Hebrews 10:19-20).

 

Thought for the Day:

If we have an idol in our life – something we focus on more than God; or are overly concerned with “me, myself and I”, we will miss the high calling of God’s will and suffer the loss of fulfillment which only He can provide.

 

The Father’s Comfort

When we focus on God through life’s issues, He gives us refuge and never leaves our soul destitute (Psalm 141:8; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 41:10). There is no reason to fear what life may throw at us, because He will help us (Isaiah 41:13).

 

God’s love for us is unconditional and everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). We did nothing to earn it, and we can do nothing to lose it. It is perpetually ours (Malachi 3:6; Matthew 28:20).

 

As authentic Believers, we enjoy continual fellowship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who abides within us by His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:9).

 

I am not a great fan of darkness. I like street lights outside my window at night, or a nightlight on in the bathroom. I am not afraid of the dark, but I am a fan of seeing what is around me at all times.

 

When the sky is cloudy and hides the stars; when the moon is in the dark new moon phase of its cycle; and when there is no electricity all at the same time, I feel like I am blind and I feel stuck in my body with no way to escape.

 

However, God gives us the treasure of His Holy Spirit within us, even in the darkness. His riches, which He hides in secret places, are always ours to enjoy – even when days are dark and hope is waning (Isaiah 45:3).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that Jesus is the light of the world, and there is no darkness as we walk in Your ways (John 8:12). Joshua is a good example to us of listening to Your direction. The walls of Jericho posed an impossible obstacle. As Joshua obeyed Your instructions, the walls fell straight down. Even archeology proves the accuracy of this Biblical account.

 

Joshua did not use human reasoning to capture the city; but He followed Your will for seven days, and then the city fell before his eyes (Hebrews 11:30). The wisdom of man is foolish when compared to Your ways (1 Corinthians 3:19). Teach us to acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

With Christ in us, we are also the light of the world; as we rest our soul in Christ and bask in the mercies and comfort of God, He uses us to bring His truth and comfort to our world. – Matthew 5:14-16, 11:28; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

 

Union with Christ – Enoch Walked With God

Enoch walked with God. This was the testimony that Enoch exhibited before God and his neighbors. Enoch also instructed his family in the ways of God, even his great grandchildren.

 

Scholars tell us that Enoch saw great visions from the Lord about heaven, Satan’s rebellion, worldly nations throughout the ages, as well as the consequences of wickedness and the rewards of the just.

 

Jude tells us that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, and that he prophesied about the Lord returning with His Saints and executing judgment on the ungodly for their unbelief (Jude 1:14-15).

 

Enoch walked in the ways of the Lord and all went well with him and his descendents (Deuteronomy 5:33). He lived to the age of 365. He saw a vision of the great flood and told his children about it.

 

Noah lived by his great grandfather’s example, and walked with God as well (Genesis 6:9). The more Enoch knew God, the more he loved Him, and his love for the world dwindled (1 John 2:15).

 

Enoch was a man of integrity and a pure heart. He saw righteousness flowing like water, and mercy scattered like dew over the whole earth. In a wicked and perverse world, Enoch longed to dwell with the righteous.

 

He realized that the Lord strengthens the spirit of the righteous for the sake of His own righteousness, and that many actually see Heaven without tasting the sleep of death.

 

Therefore, rather than allowing Enoch to enter heaven through the path of the grave, God translated Him to Heaven and he did not see death (Ephesians 5:10; Hebrews 11:5).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want to walk with You, commune with You, listen to Your wisdom and direction, and walk by Your Spirit moment by moment throughout the day. Reveal Yourself to us in Your secret places, and teach us to walk in Your ways (Palm 91:1). Your mercy is great as is Your patience with us.

 

All of your powerful works are wondrous for us to behold. You reveal all things to Your Saints, to Your elect. You write all of our deeds in Your books, and nothing we do escapes Your sight. Let us walk in justice and righteousness for Your name’s sake now and forever. If our ways please You, translate us to Heaven as well.

 

Thought for the Day:

If Enoch can walk with God in this devoted intimacy, we can too.