The Body of Christ – Safety in Numbers

As the body of Christ, we stick together, no matter where we live or how many miles separate us. We can stay connected through social media, even though we rarely see one another face-to-face.

 

In nature, it is the animal that wanders from the safety of the herd that gets attacked by a predator. Satan uses this same tactic on Believers. He finds us wandering alone and pounces (1 Peter 5:8).

 

God created Eve, because He saw that Adam suffered when he was alone. He also created us as His Body, because there is safety, encouragement and blessings when we dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

 

Without the Body of Christ we get lonely, roam from the straight and narrow path, and make poor choices. Alone, we are vulnerable, but a three-fold chord cannot be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Body loves us and helps to protect us.

 

When we yoke with Jesus and other Believers, our load is lighter and we help each other with our burden of guilt, trials and storms in life. Our perspective is broadened by seeing things from another’s point of view.

 

Even Jesus chose 12 men to disciple and to keep Him company during His three years of focused ministry on His way to the cross. Daily, they walked together, healed the sick and reclaimed people from the devil’s kingdom of darkness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to lay down our pride, to take the risks of being vulnerable which are inherent in relationships, and to encourage one another. Remind us that a best friend and prayer partner help us to diffuse our negative feelings and experiences, because they give us someone with which to share our burdens.

 

Friendships can be messy and cause problems in our life, but life is enhanced by transparent relationships, regardless of the ups and downs they may create. Thank You that You are our closest friend and that You always stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus knew the value of walking together with other Saints, although many turned against Him or deserted Him in the final hours of His life on this earth; He chose to live vulnerably in front of both the multitudes and His disciples.

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God’s Word is Sweet

As new Believers we desire the milk of the World. With a voracious appetite, we devour whole chapters, eager to read more and more about God and His plan for us.

 

As we mature in Christ, we get more familiar with God’s Word and we start to focus on verses rather than chapters. We read a few verses, until one grabs our attention.

 

Then we meditate on that verse all day long. We look up similar verses when we get a chance to focus our thoughts more specifically. We chew around on the passages and slowly digest them, savoring each morsel.

 

We taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). His Word is like honey on our lips, sweeter actually than the honey comb (Psalm 19:10). God illuminates our thoughts to see the deeper meaning of the verses on which we are meditating.

 

His Word is more precious and valuable to us than the finest of gold and refined silver (Psalm 12:6, 19:10, 119:103). The scriptures are sweet to our soul and healing to our bones (Proverbs 4:22, 16:24).

 

God’s Spirit enlightens us to apply the verses to our everyday life. He gives us a chance to share the verse in conversation or on our blog or social media site that day, inspiring others to read and meditate on God’s Word as well.

 

Our heart is glad as we meditate on God’s life-giving Words. They bring life to a broken spirit and to our bones in the dessert of life (Proverbs 17:22).

 

In the prison of depression and a broken spirit, we cannot find anything to focus on that brings us joy; yet, when we enjoy God’s Word, our face reflects the joy in our spirit and soul regardless of our circumstances (Proverbs 15:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is easier for us to endure physical ailments than wounds to and in our soul, which break our spirit and pull the rug right out from under us (Proverbs 18:14). This depression causes physical ailments that have no real physical source. We are emotionally afflicted and needy due to the wounds within our soul.

 

Heal our many afflictions – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Help us to change our focus to the innumerable blessings you provide for us each day. Open our eyes so that we may taste and see that You are good (Psalm 109:22, 34:8). We worship You and give You praise in the good times as well as the trying events in our life. You are the source of our strength always.

 

Thought for the Day:

When our soul is discouraged, it breaks our will to live, our productivity, our courage and our desire to walk in God’s will for our day; if we allow Him to, God will always give us a joyful heart, which is the best of medicine for troubles and trials. – Proverbs 15:13, 17:22

 

 

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.

 

Emotional and Mental Health – The Center of God’s Will

Most people are either on top of the world right now, or buried under the burden of frustration, discouragement and disappointment. Jesus Christ makes the difference in both of these instances.

 

Even if someone is totally successful and right where their goals led them over the last few years, they may be as unsatisfied and unfulfilled as they were when they started their journey to the top.

 

Many people give up at this point and opt for a simpler life, downgrading their salary and vocational expectations for a quieter and less stressful lifestyle.

 

For Believers, living in the center of God’s will is the only place where we find complete contentment. He may continue to lead us in the vein in which we started – adding an altered mindset, or He may change our circumstances completely.

 

It all hinges on finding and fulfilling God’s directives for our life (Proverbs 3:5-6). We completely surrender our will and plans to Him, and live by the direction of His Holy Spirit instead of our human desires.

 

Even if God leads us through some valley or trial, we find His purpose for us in it. We can witness of His mercy and grace to a fellow traveler, learn a needed lesson, view His provision for us in a whole new light, and grow in our intimacy with Him through it all (1 Peter 4:12).

 

We learn to depend on His Body during our trials, to grow closer to our spouse, family and church family; our faith grows in the fact that we can count on certain people to help us and that God never fails us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, some trials devastate us to our very core. They shake the foundations of our trust in You and our faith in humanity. Yet, we often survive these unhappy circumstances with enduring blessings that we never would have experienced without them. Remind us to focus on You in the good times and the bad, giving You praise for each instance as we focus on You – You never change (Hebrews 13:8).

 

Help us to see life from Your viewpoint rather than our limited, human perspective. Spur us to remain faithful to You in spite of them. We look at life now through Your unfailing love and comfort, according to Your promises and provision (Psalm 119:75-76). Demonstrate Yourself to us in all of Your power and majesty.

 

Thought for the Day:

Prayerfully surrendering our trials to God allows us to gain His perspective on what seems like a turn of bad luck; we ask God’s Spirit for His wisdom and direction; and we come through these times of testing with a deeper faith and stronger spiritual, mental and emotional fortitude than we ever experienced in our life in the past.

 

 

An Unveiled Mirror

An Unveiled Mirror

 

I want to be an unveiled mirror, reflecting God’s glory to the world all around me (2 Corinthians 3:18). There are issues in my life that prevent this from happening – they come from my fleshly, carnal nature and shroud me in a veil.

 

My spirit is regenerated, but my soul is not completely sanctified yet. I still have issues that prevent God’s glory from shining from within me. Fears, insecurities, feelings of being overwhelmed, discouragement and an intolerance for change all block Him from being foremost in my life.

 

I no longer obsess over the issues that cause these negative emotions, but some of them are still in my subconscious mind, blocking the glory of God from fully shining out from my spirit.

 

God reveals these issues to me one at a time throughout my years of spiritual growth in Him. Sometimes one issue will solve the problem with other issues, so that we cast a net over them all at one time.

 

For instance, fear of change is connected to the fear of destitution. I falsely believe that as long as I maintain the status quo, I will be safe. There are just too many variables in life to maintain any status quo for very long. Life happens – and when it does, it often brings change and adversity.

 

So, if I lay down at God’s feet this idol of wanting to stay safe, He can fill me with His faith that believes that even in adversity, God is my constant companion and champion (Luke 24:13-35). He never leaves or abandons me (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This builds my faith in His faithfulness, so that I can view trials as adventures and seek God’s purpose even in the midst of them. Maybe He has someone for me to witness to, or a lesson for me to learn, or some ulterior motive that He may never reveal to me.

 

The more time that I spend in God’s presence, the more I allow Him to change my personality to His fruit, the less control I attempt to maintain over my life, then the quicker He is able to sanctify my soul and the more of His glory is revealed in me.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You love us with Your everlasting love and draw us close to You by Your loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). I ask Your Holy Spirit to control my every thought, word and deed for Your glory (Colossians 3:17). Grant us according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in our inner being, as Christ dwells in our heart through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).

 

Root and ground us in Your love, flood us through all of our being with all of Your fullness, oh God; so that we may have the richest measure of Your presence and become a body wholly filled with You (Ephesians 3:18-19, Amplified Bible).

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord has searched us and intimately knows us, even when we sit down and when we will get up and walk around again; He understands our thoughts, even the ones we will think in the distant future; He knows every detail of our life and is acquainted with all of our ways. – Psalm 139:1-6
 

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting Quietly at Jesus’ Feet

Sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet is a tremendously healing endeavor. We cease from our labors and listen to His voice, feel His hand stroking our head, breathing in unison with Him as He listens to our troubles and trials, and receives our praise.

 

His presence fills us with His peace and joy in spite of circumstances. His ministry to our spirit by His Spirit makes a lasting impression on our soul as He calms the raging sea within our thoughts and emotions.

 

It is easier to keep busy than to sit quietly and still. We rush headlong into life and ignore the deep recesses of our soul that need healing; but these unresolved conflicts tear us down every day for the rest of our life – until we are willing to sit quietly and listen to our soul.

 

We feel vulnerable when too much of our inner self is exposed to the light of day. Satan’s condemnation, the world’s expectations and the negative self-talk in us from years of input by significant others in our life, make us uncomfortable with confronting our fears and insecurities.

 

It is important to pause during the day to prop up our feet, drink a cup of tea, do a craft, watch a wholesome show or movie, play a video game, paint a picture, learn a musical instrument, etc. This gives our soul a much needed chance to play and experience a time of abandon and creativity.

 

Proven scientific studies show that meditation decreases our negative attitudes and neurosis, as well as increases our feelings of control and security. Meditating on God’s Word heals these psychosomatic issues and decreases their effects on our life.

 

God’s Spirit is sanctifying our soul little by little and day by day. Our carnality is decreasing so that He may increase in us and through us. We do not attempt to perfect our self (Galatians 3:1-3), but we surrender to God’s work within us (Romans 8).

 

We pray without ceasing by consulting God each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6) and we walk in the Spirit rather than fulfilling the former, diminishing, carnal desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25; Colossians 3:3-4). We live in victory and fulfillment with His ceaseless peace and joy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You draw us to Your heart through our wounds, scars and brokenness. You accomplish Your most powerful miracles through those of us who turn toward You in our weakness, rather than blaming You and turning away from You in our distress. You plant a seed for a miracle in every trial.

 

You use our brokenness to prove Your love for us and that You are sovereign in our life. You call us by name and give us treasures from our darkness and riches in the midst of the secret places of grief in our soul (Isaiah 45:3). Thank You for setting us free from worldly concerns and for reminding us to stay focused on You and Your will throughout our day.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we walk in the power and anointing of Christ in us and fulfill God’s will for our life, we see the lasting fruit both of God’s sanctifying work in our soul and of our spiritual endeavors in the lives of those God brings into our life; this causes us to rejoice constantly in God’s faithfulness and goodness.

 

 

A Fulfilling Marriage

The marriage of a man and a woman is a union of two individuals joined as one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11; Ephesians 5:31). God intends for them to serve Him, as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

 

At first, a couple’s attraction increases their love for one another. Yet, over time they gradually stop considering one another, doing the tiny thoughtful gestures for one another that mean so much and sharing the same goals and purpose in life (Ephesians 5:33).

 

As the years progress, the couple eventually take each other for granted, stop romantic overtures and make other pursuits their priority in life. They co-exist, but do not work as a team or care about each other’s needs as much as they care about their own.

 

To the Wife:

There are many women who take their husband for granted. Some insist on spending more money than he makes. Others find their fulfillment in their home and children or in their job and ignore their husband’s needs.

 

They get caught up in the pressure of their daily demands and make no time for their husband. They forget that men need visual stimulation to feel loving, and they make no effort to groom and dress nicely for him at home.

 

They forget to make his favorite meal, to shop for his preferences and to make time to listen to him share about his day. A wife is given the privilege of following the outline given in Proverbs 31.

 

She will flourishes as a wife, mother, homemaker and business woman in this creative capacity given to her by God. God’s Spirit will give her wisdom and strength to minister to her family.

 

To the Husband:

A man will expect his wife to be sweet and accommodating and to keep him as her primary focus (Ephesians 5:25); yet, it is often the husband’s poor choices, which keep the marriage in a state of perpetual insecurity and financial loss.

 

No woman can be sweet and submissive when her husband stops considering her needs and keeps her life in turmoil. Then he blames her hormones or personality for her negative reactions to him.

 

God desires to charge the husband to dwell with and to provide for his wife with love and understanding (1 Peter 3:7). If he does, then his wife will more easily submit to His loving leadership.

 

A man’s responsibility is to protect his wife and to give her the feeling of safety and security she deserves. He will not take her for granted, if he realizes everything which she does for him throughout the day after day (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Romans 12:16).

 

To the Couple:

Any couple can keep romance alive with spontaneous little gifts, daily times to snuggle, helping each other around the house, date nights, listening with focused attention, and an unexpected phone call or an email during the day proclaiming their love for one another (1 Peter 4:10). Try it and see!

 

Prayer:

Father God, the opposite sexes are just that – opposite. It seems that You played a trick on humanity by causing opposites to attract. However, Your plan all along was for opposites to complement one another.

 

We can draw from one another’s strengths to make up for our own weaknesses. Remind us that we are a team, and we will dwell together in unity as we work and pray together under the direction of Your Holy Spirit (Psalm 133:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we make an effort to increase our love for each other until it overflows, we will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Ephesians 5:21