God is in Control – The Storms of Life

When we first come to Christ for salvation, we still feel like we need to maintain control of our life in case He messes something up for us. Life careens out of control sometimes, does not seem fair and is confusing at best.

 

God’s plans do not always fit into our goals and we think He just does not understand us. His purpose for us does not feel right and often goes against what our heart is telling us to do.

 

What we do not realize at first is that our heart is desperately wicked and cannot tell what is truly best for us (Jeremiah 17:9). We often get into more trouble following our heart than when we follow what our head tells us to do.

 

We only need a small amount of faith to please God (Matthew 17:20); and we can even admit that we need help in our unbelief (Mark 9:23-25). God truly cares and will never ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

God does not always calm the storm (Mark 4:35-41), but He fills us with His presence within and guides us through the raging upheaval one step at a time. When skies are clear, we often forget all about God, taking credit for avoiding the rain.

 

Trials reveal the amount of carnality still lingering in our soul. We succumb to the tests of life when we trust our self rather than God. We struggle through trouble and trials and are buffeted by the storms inherent in life on this earth.

 

However, if we determine to believe God, to hold His hand during the valleys and to maintain our faith in His faithfulness, we discover that tribulation is simply an adventure and that God has everything in His control.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You cause our guardian angels to camp out around us in order to deliver us whenever we trust in You (Psalm 34:7). Even if we end up suffering for doing what is right, You lavish us with rewards; therefore, we never need to worry or be afraid of life’s insecurities and dangers (1 Peter 3:14).

 

You are the first and the last, and You hold all the issues of life and death in Your hands (Revelation 1:17; Mark 5:36; Romans 8:2) You answer us when we pray and believe, and You fight for us as You rid us of all of our fears (Psalm 34:4; Deuteronomy 3:22). We praise You and give You all of the honor and glory that is due to Your name.

 

Thought for the Day:

I was young, and now I am old, and I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love, not even death or life, angels or demons, fears of the present, worries about tomorrow or the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. – Romans 8:38-39

 

 

 

 

A Serene Life

The busyness of life is more and more distracting to the modern day person and parent. We make sports, music, dance and hobbies a priority over church activities, which teaches our children that worldly pursuits are more important than God in our life.

 

The way to remedy this modern phenomenon is to align our activities with Biblical priorities by seeking first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). This causes the noise of life to diminish, and we find more joy and tranquility in our daily schedule.
Rather than to drown out God’s directives by the noise of worldly pursuits, we reduce the cacophony of life by making God’s will our priority each moment of our day. As the noise of this world diminishes, the guidance of God’s Spirit is more acute and discernable.

 

We fully experience God’s abundant life, which brings Him glory and honor in our every thought, word and activity (John 10:10). We come to realize the magnitude of the concept of Jesus Christ actually abiding in us by His Spirit, and we surrender our goals and priorities to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Jesus admonished us to live dramatically different lives from those who live in the world. He encouraged us to love God more than those in our household and even our own life (Luke 14:26; Matthew 6:24). Our love for God is so paramount that we actually feel more love for Him than we do for anyone else.

 

God has the bulk of our affections and everything we think, say and do is a reflection of Christ’s life within us (Galatians 2:20). Our heart swells with our adoration of our God and Savior, and we serve at the pleasure of our King in our family, church and community activities.

 

The worldly clutter in our life disappears and we live above the clamor of life swirling all around us. We rest in God and serve from this place of unhindered peace (Hebrews 4:9-11). We see life from His perspective and we rise above the demands of modern society.

 

We can also rise above the temporal issues of this life, the attitudes of our fellow sojourners, and the circumstances that attempt to overwhelm us. This prevents them from robbing us of our joy in the Lord.

 

When we keep our focus on the joy set before us, spiritual truths actually govern our life. God is still in control, Jesus sits on the throne and abides within us, and the Holy Spirit will guide every step we take and keep us in God’s will for our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that You created rest for more than the Sabbath and help us to enter into Your Kingdom’s rest. Open our eyes to the reality of Christ in us and the fact that His presence in our life removes the necessity of us struggling to survive in this world. Help the codependent and workaholic to totally surrender to Your Spirit’s direction for each moment of our day, rather than to succumb to the tendency to enable people and to do more than Your will for our life.

 

This way we rise above the stress and negativity of life on planet earth and dwell in Your Kingdom now.  Teach us to rest in Your loving presence, which will increase our positive emotions and decrease our depression and anxiety over the issues we face each day. We thank You for Your grace in our life and for our unity with the Trinity, which abides within us.

 

Thought for the Day:

Any negative emotion in our life is a red flag to signal an unresolved conflict within us, an idol we erected above the Lord, a misleading focus on the importance of the issues of this life, or that we are walking outside of God’s will for our day.

 

Living without God’s Spirit and Word

Imagine living in Old Testament times. No Bible, except the Pentateuch at the Temple, and no Holy Spirit abiding within our Spirit. No intimate connection through Christ with the presence of God within.

 

Sure, there was an occasional Christophany when Jesus appeared to an individual; but how many times did that happen? Once in a while the Holy Spirit embodied a person, such as a prophet, but the normal rank and file person had no connection with Him.

 

If I had no Bible and no Holy Spirit, I would be in an asylum. Emotional, mental and spiritual meltdowns would be the natural order of my day. My emotions and melancholic thoughts would dominate my life.

 

Bereft of God’s Spirit and Word, I would drift with the tide of life and get deeper and deeper into undertows and whitewater designed by Satan to snuff out my natural life.

 

I barely survived like this for the first 18 years of my life; but in God’s mercy, He saved me and gave me the fullest measure of His Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-19).

 

I weep uncontrollably at the thought of not living as the temple of the Spirit of God (Psalm 51:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The presence of God’s Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance with Christ, and it assures us that we are truly Born Again (Ephesians 1:14).

 

How could we survive one moment of life disconnected from the life-giving flow of God’s Word and the security and direction of His Spirit’s presence in our life?

 

Thankfully, God’s Spirit does guide each moment of our day with precision and comfort (Proverbs 3:5-6), leading us with His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). We can approach God’s throne with complete confidence (Hebrews 4:16). He is all we ever need.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for Your Spirit and Your Word. I do not know how people survive without Your intimate presence in their life. I do not go one moment of the day without consulting You, casting my cares on You and praying for Your blessings and a more intimate union with You.

 

I feel so blessed to be living in this day and time with the internet access and the speed at which we can connect to Your Word day and night. Your Word is truth and we devour it ravenously; it is sweeter than honey and the honey comb (Psalm 119:103). We can never have enough hours in the day to show our appreciation to You for all You do for us.

 

Thought for the Day:

Having no intimate union with the Trinity, enjoying no assurances from the promises of God’s Word, abandoned and alone without the unconditional love daily showered on us by our Heavenly Father would leave us rudderless in a sea of deprivation, confusion and illusion.

 

God is in Control – Through Troubles and Trials

We live in a world that often frightens us. Unexpected trials and trouble attack us from every side when we least expect it; so we develop the mentality of fear and apprehension.

 

We constantly wait for the next shoe to drop, anticipating trauma around every corner and never allowing our self to believe in or hope for the best. This continues until we realize that every day in Jesus is better than the day before.

 

As a melancholy personality, I struggled for years to come to this place of total trust in God’s goodness and to have faith in His faithfulness and perfect peace in His will for me, regardless of how bad the circumstances seemed.

 

Very few of the imaginary worse case scenarios, which occupy our mind, ever materialize. We end up worrying for nothing; and spending time, when we could be praising God with our thoughts, in trying to be prepared for ever circumstance life may possibly throw at us.

 

Elections, terrorists, natural disasters, financial strain and insecurity, disease, strained relationships, etc. all dim in importance when we realize in our spirit and our soul that, if we live in total surrender, God is in control of every aspect of our life.

 

Life as an authentic, Born Again Believer teaches us that life in Christ is an adventure. We are already dead with Christ in God, living in His abundant rest, walking in His Spirit and enjoying His perfect will for our life.

 

Trouble is merely a tiny bump in the road when we hide under the shadow of God’s wings and allow Him to live life in and through us. Fear, anxiety, insecurities and worry no longer overwhelm our soul, and our spirit draws strength and life from Christ within us.

 

We live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). God’s Spirit controls all of our decisions, trials and troubles. The shadow of darkness in this world is dispelled by the light of Christ within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we learn to trust in You, the issues which formerly sent us into the pit of despair, no longer rock our world. We learn over the days of our life spent in Your presence, that You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). If we pray without ceasing, walk in Your Spirit each moment of our day and trust in Your unfailing love and mercy, we have joy even in our trials (James 1:2-8).

 

Remind us to replace the negative self-talk and lies straight from the pit of hell with the Truth of Your Word, which is alive and powerful and able to separate the worries of our soul from the faith in our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Give us Your grace to see us through the days when our faith wanes and the waters threaten to drown us (Habakkuk 3:7-19).

 

Thought for the Day:

Although the closets are bare, we have no job, the garden is overcome by weeds, the grocery prices are way beyond our means, our savings is depleted, and our relationships are hopeless, we can still rejoice in the Lord, because He is the God of our salvation, our strength, our provision, and our enabler in every area of our life. – Habakkuk 3:7-19

 

The Benefits of the Christian Life

Our relationship with God in the spiritual realm is more vital to our life here on earth than any other person, place or thing. Yet, we often focus more on pursuing the world, and we suffer in body, soul and spirit.

 

Repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus to save us, opens the door for this intimacy with the supreme Ruler of the universe. Then devoting our thoughts, words and actions to Him maintains our union.

 

Any rivaling carnal thoughts, words and deeds suck the spiritual life right out of us. Satan attempts to keep us earth bound or pushes us to be religious rather than spiritual.

 

Yet, Jesus made it clear that our goal in life centers on loving God with our entire heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Then, we function in our ministry for Him by sharing His love with our mate and children, as well as our parents and siblings.

 

We serve them as God’s Spirit directs our steps. We meet their needs in Jesus’ name. Then we branch out to our church family, workmates and acquaintances, neighbors and strangers as the Spirit directs us.

 

All the while we guard against substituting good activities, which side track us from God’s will for us. The best activities are those which are spirit led and directed (Proverbs 3:5-6). Then we never get too busy to worship, praise and pray.

 

In God’s plan for our life, every piece fits snugly together like the pieces of a puzzle. We may not readily see God’s purpose for trials or opportunities, and we end up feeling frustrated, angry or hurt.

 

However, if we walk in the Spirit, we begin seeing spiritual fruit from our labors. We learn lessons, overcome desires to sin, fall in love with Jesus more every day and watch God use us to further His Kingdom on the earth.

 

We gradually realize that we are dead to the old nature and that Christ is now our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We give God complete control of our life, even through the severest of trials and persecution.

 

We trust in His goodness, even though life often wearies us and fills us with fear and insecurities. God continually pours out on us His magnificent love and lavishly showers us with the fulfillment of His precious promises.

 

He gives us everything we need to live a life of contentment and holiness, which costs us nothing, because He already paid the price for everything on Calvary’s cross (John 3:16-18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to become obedient to Your Spirit each day (Philippians 2:8). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, so that we daily increase our devotion, grow in our faith, understand Your mysteries and live a life of trust in and worship of You.

 

We release our heart into Your care; trust You to work out everything for our ultimate good, even if we never understand the why; come to You to reveal to us the source of our negative emotions; and realize that You give us a Kingdom focus which guarantees us that eternal life starts at salvation.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we feel unloved by the world around us, we can always look within and experience the amazing love of a God who took the form of a human being and suffered and died in our place, in order to give us His eternal life.

 

 

I Don’t Worry; I Pray

Someone asked me if I was worried about an issue and I said without thinking, “I don’t worry, I pray.” That comment hit me between the eyes, and I realized how true it has become in my life of over 40 years of learning to have faith in God’s faithfulness.

 

Worry is a negative emotion and all negative emotions are red flags to show us areas in our life where we need attention. We may have a burden to share with someone who cares, a problem to solve or an idol to renounce.

 

Idols do not come in different shapes and sizes anymore. They are pet peeves, unrealistic goals, unwarranted demands, irritations and worries that do not belong in our life.

 

They tear us down by whittling away at our joy and serenity. They cause us to respond with irritability and even anger. They spoil our mood and rob us of our witness for Christ.

 

When we sense a negative emotion in our soul, a searching moral inventory is a good place to start. Ask yourself what is really bothering you and give yourself time to really think about it and to answer truthfully.

 

When you discover the root of the negative emotion ask yourself if you can do anything about it. If so, do it; if not then ask someone for help or give it to God to solve if it is something beyond human effort.

 

God can move mountains in our life when we trust in His faithfulness. He may not answer our prayers as we think He should, but He always works them out for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we often overlook the power of prayer in our life. We worry first, connive through human effort second, ask other people for help and eventually, when all else fails, we remember to pray. Remind us to use prayer as our first defense and offense against the issues we face in life.

 

When we trust You completely and put You first in our life, You always direct our steps and lead us to success (Proverbs 3:5-6). Help us not to allow worry to paralyze us into inactivity and to limit or stop our efficiency and initiative as You inspire us by Your Spirit.
Thought for the Day:

When we pray without ceasing, the Lord keeps us from trouble and delivers us in our distress; He calms our storms and smooths the rough seas; He quiets the waves and brings us safely home to our port.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 107:28-30;  Matthew 8:23-27

 

Surviving Our Past

During the formative years of our life, many of us experience physical and emotional wounds perpetrated by family, neighbors and friends of our family.

 

These events caused parts of our soul to splinter off and embed in our subconscious mind. We are disjointed and incomplete, because our basic human needs in these areas were never met.

 

Some of us barely survive our past experiences, and we drag the wounds with us into adulthood. Victimization took away our choices and we feel trapped.

 

We even mistreat our self by either putting our needs last and allowing other people to take advantage of us, or punishing our self with further pain and neglect, or becoming obsessed with our own needs and walling our heart from further hurt by shutting down our emotions and becoming self-sufficient.

 

We may allow the demon of perfectionism to control our life, because we fear further rejection or feel the need to earn love and acceptance; or we may adopt a lackadaisical and carefree attitude, unthinking and callous to the needs of others.

 

God leads us on the path of healing through sanctification. As we embrace the parts of our soul we left behind, we experience a wholeness and completion, which we never thought was possible (Colossians 2:10-15).

 

We integrate the pieces of our self, which we rejected in our past, and learn to relate to people and the will of God for our life as healthy individuals who are growing in the grace of God.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

God teaches us to set boundaries in our life to prevent future abuse and gives us a new heart in order to love others as He loves us.

 

God’s healing in our life sets us free to shed the shackles of negative emotions and to be more aware of living fully in each present moment with unceasing prayer and by walking in the Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You were right there with us during those times of abuse and neglect in our past. You understand our thought processes now and the negative emotions, which plague our life. You became a man and died for us. This act of selfless love now gives us the sense of being valued and unconditionally loved.

 

As we align our self and our beliefs with Your Word, we find fulfillment in this life, which we never thought possible on this side of heaven. You supply all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). You restore our soul, anoint our head with oil, set a table for us in the presence of our enemies and our cup overflows with Your blessings (Psalm 23).

 

Thought for the Day:

We can relinquish the need to control life and other people in a misguided attempt to keep our self safe from further abuse and neglect, when we insist on taking part in decisions which affect our life, and trust God to work out even the worst circumstances for our good – Romans 8:28

Trapped in My Subconscious Mind

The soul is our mind, will and emotions, or I like to call it our thoughts, choices and feelings. When life happens all around us, it registers with our soul.

 

We analyze the occurrence with our thoughts, decide how we feel about those thoughts and then make choices according to our thoughts and feelings.

 

We tuck away many of these experiences in our subconscious mind, never even giving them any conscious thought at all. This happens in a matter of seconds. Yet, these stored memories affect our choices for the rest of our life.

 

Our soul often attempts to draw our attention to these memories through dreams, negative emotions and bizarre beliefs. We need a resolution for them or to make a decision about them.

 

We can continue to ignore them and allow them to fester like a blister in our soul, or we can confront them, find God’s truth about them and find freedom from the trouble they cause.

 

The easiest and most lasting way to heal our soul is to journal our thoughts and feelings – uncensored and unorganized; any way they come to mind, just write them down that way.

 

Underline all of the negative thoughts. Which topic is the most prevalent? That is the biggest lie by which Satan is keeping your soul captive.

 

Pray about that negative mindset and ask God to show you where it came from. Is it attached to a memory, or more than one incident in the past? It may have been a simple insignificant comment by a significant person in our life.

 

Ask God to tell you His truth about this issue. Now, use that truth to help you to change your focus about the issue. Ask yourself how you feel about that negative attitude now. It should diminish in intensity.

 

If it is not totally gone, then pray about it again and take time to listen to God’s truth about what He shows you. Repeat this process until that emotion no longer bothers you and then go on to the next negative emotion.

 

This may take minutes, hours, days or even months. You may not get resolution during your prayer time; but it may occur when you wake up some morning, or while cooking a meal or carpooling the children. God speaks in His own time and way.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for caring about soul as well as our body and spirit. You are our great God and our great King and You rule over every principality and power in heavenly places. Thank You for teaching us that spiritual warfare is a very real occurrence in life in this earthly realm, and for giving us Your Spirit to take authority over Satan and his demons.

 

You set us free from the negative world of thoughts and events, which plague us. You capture us for Your glory and You use us in Your Kingdom all the days of our life in this world and in the next. Thank You for redeeming us, transforming us and using us according to Your will.

 

Thought for the Day:

The object of prayer journaling is to persevere in prayer about each negative emotion until God resolves them for you and you are free from the tyranny of the past; you will feel lighter, happier and more at peace with God, yourself and with your personal relationships.

 

 

Integratiion with God’s Spirit

When we detach from the belief that we are only the sum of what we think and feel, we are able to integrate our true inner self with God’s Spirit within us.

 

We see and forgive the causes of our faulty thinking and behavior and are healed. As we accept our feelings and idiosyncrasies without judgment, we can submit them to God’s Spirit for sanctification.

 

We stop fighting our self and start growing in Christ. God’s Spirit sets us free from the bondage of Satan’s lies which controlled us for most of our life ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

We align our thinking with God’s Word. Our days take on a hue of joy and peace unfamiliar to us in the past. The presence of God’s Spirit within us helps us to see our faulty thinking and behavior without negative repercussions or condemnation (Romans 8:1).

 

We relax and trust in God’s goodness and compassion. We pull the plug on the power which our negative feelings once held over our life. We learn to reject Satan’s lies and to embrace God’s Truth.

 

We no longer entertain them as real and important; and instead we view them as red flags which signal a deeper problem within.

 

Our realization, that our strong over-reaction to a person or experience comes from old wounds and unresolved conflicts, gives us more balance in our life and priorities.

 

We face our fears head-on and allow God’s Spirit to diffuse them for us. We see the idols we erected in our life for what they are, and we cooperate as the Holy Spirit tears them down.

 

Patience does her perfecting work in us and things of this world no longer grip us with the former, inordinate, over-powering importance which the earthly and material issues used to hold in our life. We look forward to the miracles God plants in all of our trials.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we find joy in our tribulation (Romans 5:3), because of Your presence in them with us. You hold us in the safety of Your hand and shelter us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 139:10). We realize that the disappointments and wounds of our childhood hold no more power over our current moment, because You set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

We forgive those who hurt and used us; and we look forward to a new chapter in our life, full of Your blessings and new possibilities. Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment of the day and to do the works which You created us to do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we face the grief of our past with a spiritual viewpoint, the intensity of it diminishes and we are freed from the power of negative emotions, which used to infect our life.

 

The Devil in the Details

It is the details of life, which often bog us down. Our priorities are sidetracked by the little demonic foxes that spoil the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). They sway our thoughts and emotions until we lose our peace, fall out of God’s rest and end up drowning in stress.

 

The good things in life become the enemy of the best things. They demand our attention away from what is important. We fail to walk in God’s Spirit or perform His will for our day, because the details scream for our attention.

 

It is difficult to ignore those little nagging issues, which arise during the day and night. They are like a flashing neon sign that continually pull our focus back to them and away from God’s best for us.

 

We end up reaping physical illnesses, negative emotions in our soul and our spirit is malnourished from neglect. We feel like a failure and often start believing that we are hopeless. Yet, there is always hope in God.

 

Many details can be eliminated; for instance, immediately throw away that advertisement or catalog, which came in the mail; dust and vacuum once a week, and do not allow the gathering particles to bother you that collect in every corner and flat surface of the room until that day.

 

Separate the laundry in bins and only wash when the bin is full; wash dishes as you cook, so there is not a pile at the end of the meal; and, if necessary, allow yourself to leave the sink full of dishes and go to bed to get your needed rest for the next day.

 

Do not answer the telephone every time it rings – caller ID helps us to distinguish if our child needs our attention and everyone else can leave a message for us to hear at a more opportune time.

 

Make a grocery list and shop once a week or month or quarter, rather than running to the store every other day for some forgotten or needed item.

 

Making more little changes in the details of our home life, vocational activities and church ministries – as God gives us wisdom, changes our mindset and schedule.

 

We put our priorities in the proper order and we have more time for spiritual pursuits. Our life is more fulfilled and our spirit is nourished by our close intimacy with our Heavenly Daddy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for pointing out to us the areas where Satan uses the zillion details of the day to distract and discourage us. Give us Your wisdom to know how to organize and to make Your plans our priority. Help us to stay focused on the spiritual rather than on this earthly realm.

 

We want our day to start and finish in Your perfect will for us, accomplishing all that You called us to do at work, home and play. Draw our hearts to You and never let us go, as our intimacy with You deepens and our spiritual focus increases.

 

Thought for the Day:

Be aware of the minute details that tend to destroy us from the inside out, to interrupt our home life and relationships, and to spread the roots of apathy in our churches.