Who Is Really in Control?

Attempting to control life is an impossible task. Panic attacks, endless worry, attempting to manipulate people and events, and using anger or condescension or guilt to control people’s responses and behavior are all exercises in futility.

 

Controlling also alienates us from the affections of our loved ones. They either cringe when we come around, avoid us or tune us out to protect themselves from what they perceive as emotional abuse.

 

This all stems from a deep seated fear in our soul that life will overcome us and we will drown in despair. Leaving life in God’s capable hands is the only way to face life with confidence and victory (Exodus 14:4; Psalm 127:1; Hebrews 11:6).

 

Living with the knowledge that we truly are incapable, frail and powerless, we thrive in a life of praise for God’s bountiful provision for us in every area of life – physical, financial, emotional, spiritual and mental (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

 

We are confident of His divine presence, power and majesty in our spirit, which conforms our soul by the sanctifying power of His Holy Spirit until we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

We come to the end of our self and God reveals to us that we are no longer separated from Him, but living in union with Him to the degree that we will allow Him to function in and through us by His Holy Spirit.

 

He fills us through all of our being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). We represent Him in our world, because He keeps us, teaches us and showers us with His love, unity and grace (Psalm 121; Jude 24, 1 John 2:27, 4:17)

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for providing each of us with a breaking point in our life that allows us to leave this earthly realm by Your Spirit and to see and hear the heavenly realm right here in our world. We see things from the perspective of Your heart and we walk in the power of Your might; not lifted up with human pride but motivated and empowered in meekness by Your sacred heart (Matthew 5:5).

 

You stripped us of our self-sufficiency and taught us that we cannot ever control life or manipulate people enough to feel safe in this world. Once we realize our insufficiency, You are our sole sufficiency (2 Corinthians 3:5). Life may still make us nervous and the unknown future may still shoot a bolt of terror through our heart, but You teach us to entirely place our every care on Your strong shoulders, because You always care for us.

 

Thought for the Day:
No concern of ours is too small or complicated for God to use to shower us with His blessings, once we totally surrender to His will in all things – whether we suffer deprivation or we rejoice with every good and perfect gift, which comes only from God.

 

Bruised, but Not Broken

Violence can break a person, a relationship, personal belongings, etc. Something whole is handicapped now…maybe glued together, but never the same again.

 

Sometimes the fracture is undetectable, but it is there nonetheless – influencing every day of our life, leaving us damaged, cracked, fragmented and wounded.

 

Fear, confusion, insecurity and brokenness leave us vulnerable, crushed, strained and fractured. Ravaged by the choice made by someone else, our life is less than perfect. We often injure others because we are no longer whole.

 

Jesus paid the price to help us to mend from these injuries and flaws. He allowed the Roman soldiers to spill His blood, so we can be healed in body, soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Jesus heals the brokenhearted by the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18).Troubles and trials may press in on us from every side, but Jesus breaks the yokes which bind us to them.

 

If we trust in and rely on Him alone, He does not allow life to crush us (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20). He encourages us when we are disheartened to keep us from being driven to despair (Psalms 34:18). He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This persecution reveals the character of Christ in us, as we share in suffering in this life similar to His (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Our anguish here on earth cannot even compare to the unspeakable glory and joy that God will reveal in us and to us through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You comfort all who mourn (Matthew 5:4). You require from us a spirit, which is humbly broken and contrite (Psalm 51:17). If we fall upon Christ by faith, we may be crushed; but never broken, because He will save us (Matthew 21:44).

 

Conversely, those who reject Your Son Jesus actually expose themselves to danger, ultimate ruin and eternal destruction (Luke 20:18; John 3:16-18; Romans 11:19; John 15:5). You will not allow the crushed stem to be completely broken or their feeble light to be put out entirely (Matthew 12:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

A bruised and broken life is full of mercy and compassion for others, and God uses us as a conduit of His love to those who suffered what we have suffered.

 

Covenant with Jesus

God’s Word is like a fire, searing the flesh in its path. It is like a hammer, breaking rock into stones and removing mountains in the way of our spiritual maturity (Jeremiah 23:29). Meditating on scripture makes our soul happy, our spirit holy and our body healthy.

 

In His faithfulness, God calls us and then commences, directs and finishes our walk of faith as His Word strengthens us with His joy (Nehemiah 8:10). We walk in His complete peace, regardless of our circumstances.

 

We meet calamity with calm dignity when our soul – mind, emotions and choices – is filled with God’s Spirit. With a joy-filled focus, we perform God’s will throughout our life and trust in Him until the moment of our death.

 

At Salvation, we receive the mind of Christ which slowly replaces our carnal thoughts and behavior. We live with a free conscience, a holy walk and the assurance of His hope and promises.

 

The holiness, mercy, grace and fruit of God’s Spirit are ours as we covenant in a relationship with Jesus. He keeps our body, soul and spirit blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As we focus on our spiritual walk, listening to the Spirit and following His lead on a minute-by-minute basis, we find success, fulfillment and people who admire our walk and want to follow us as we follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your joy sees us through the devastating events in our lives, which force us to our knees. Your joy is greater than human happiness and transcends the negative human emotions created by our circumstances. This joy gives us Your strength. Help us to walk in Your ways and to delight in Your will for our life.

 

Remind us that as we cling to Your Word it divides between our carnal flesh and our growing spirituality, even to the depths of our joints and marrow. Thank You that the Bible exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12) and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Our joy is not in worldly goods or pursuits, but in our relationship with Christ alone; therefore, we weather the storms of adversity, disappointment, frustration, loss and defeat; knowing that the trying of our faith builds our patience. – James 1:3-4

 

 

 

 

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.

No Longer a Sinner – Conformed to Christ’s Image

God’s glory within us increases incrementally as we cooperate with His Spirit’s discipline and direction. We reflect this glory to the world around us and draw people to Him who want more of Him in their life as well.

 

His sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

As God’s Spirit transforms us with the mind, likeness and divine character of Christ, we change from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is not a matter of Him changing us from one stage of sinner to the next.

 

We are no longer a worm, but a butterfly soaring in the spiritual realm of life. Our inner man is drawn by the Spirit of God into ascending realms of spiritual maturity, rather than Him dragging us out of our penchant toward one sin and then another (Ephesians 4:13).

 

This sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

Our cooperation with God’s Spirit insures that our perfection continues without disruption until we are completely conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

 

Christ, who is the image of God and abides within us (John 1:14, 14:9), gives us both the desire and power to work out our salvation in cooperation with God’s Spirit (Colossians 1:15; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 1:3).

 

As we focus on Christ, as if looking in a mirror at His image in us, we reflect increasing stages of His glory. We realize that our carnal nature is all but dead, and that Christ is our whole life (Ephesians 3:3-4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, reveal to us that only the veil of sin, which so easily hinders us if we take our mind off Christ, will thwart our personal journey into perfection. Help us to allow Your Spirit to cut away the dead skin of the flesh, so that we walk in unity with Your Spirit and in the likeness of Christ in us.

 

Remind us to continually focus on Your glory reflected on the face of Christ within us. Fill us daily with Your Spirit and allow us to totally submit until He takes full possession of our body, spirit and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. Our whole desire in our life is to reflect Your glory to the world around us and to draw everyone in our sphere of influence to a closer walk with You.

 

Thought for the Day:
Our dark and sinful soul is transformed into the image of Christ as we consistently walk in His marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

 

A Good Marriage – Love Languages

Marriage is about the union of two people – two families of people. It brings them together in a legally binding relationship which God intends to last a lifetime.

 

Life happens, though; the death of a spouse, or of the marriage, sidetracks our best intentions. Our negative emotions influence whether or not we can forgive each other, or if we harbor anger and resentment.

 

It is best to investigate right away whenever we feel anger toward our spouse. We cannot allow hurt, anger or bitterness to accumulate in our heart and erect walls between us and those who love us.

 

These negative emotions prevent unconditional love, appreciation and respect from growing in our marriage. Emotional stress added to the stresses of daily living will encourage the desire in us to escape from our marriage.

 

Satan will certainly, gladly provide us with the opportunity to destroy what God has joined together. Do not be surprised when controversy, disagreements and arguments erupt in your marriage.

 

These do not indicate a problem in the relationship; but merely a normal adjustment between two very different people. God puts opposites together so that we can stretch, grow, and learn from one another.

 

God desires that we appreciate one another’s individual strengths, and that we allow them to overcome the weaknesses in each other. No one spouse has all the answers.

 

It is only as we really listen to one another, consider each other’s opinions, feelings and needs – and then compromise our desires that we can find equitable solutions to the issues that will most certainly arise.

 

Our goal in any argument is never to run each other down, wound with critical words, bring up the past in a hurtful manner or stoop to abusive verbal or physical behavior.

 

We simply hash out our disagreements in an honest and harmonious manner, striving to find common ground, giving in on matters that are not really important to us, and standing firm about the things which mean the most to us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave each of us a unique personality, made from genetics, upbringing, personality and learned qualities. Remind us that we all need to receive love in different ways: words of affirmation, physical or emotional attention, acts of service, romantic gifts and gestures, or a conglomeration of these. This special language is all our own and allows us to feel loved and nurtured by our spouse.

 

Help us to understand that if we withhold these gifts of affection from one another, we are undermining our relationship and sabotaging our marriage – setting our self up for a cold and distant existence. Yet if we shower each other with love, we are ensuring that our marriage will go the distance and last a lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

Everyone has their own unique love language that fulfills them and allows them to feel understood, appreciated and cherished; make it a point to ask your mate what his/her love language is and then give him/her expressions of that love some time during  every single day.

 

 

 

 

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God is the Holy One of Israel; yet, He cares for each one of us individually, regardless of our circumstances. He is our redeemer and our strong tower (Isaiah 41:13-14; Psalm 46:1).

 

He actually holds our hand when we are afraid, and He promises to help each one of us. When we allow fear to overwhelm us, we fall into its trap; but when we trust the Lord, He keeps us safe (Proverbs 29:25; Psalm 34:4).

 

We see how Jesus calmed the storms for His disciples, and He abides within us and protects us as well (Mark 4:39-40). The angel of the Lord actually camps around those who honor God with their life, and He delivers us (Psalm 34:7).

 

Even if we are reviled or falsely accused when we are living righteously, God will reward us for it. Regardless of what any person says about us or threatens us with He is our defense (1 Peter 3:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

 

God places His redeeming hand on our life, encourages us not to give place to fear and reminds us that He is our all in all (Revelation 1:17). He took on the form of a man in order to save us.

 

All He asks of us is to believe in Him (Mark 5:36). In failing to believe, we condemn our self to eternal damnation (John 3:18). In our belief, we accept God’s eternal plan for our life (John 3:6-17).

 

Nothing we do, think or say, or anything that is in heaven or on the earth, can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). We are eternally His child and He loves us unconditionally.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You actually rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). We dwell in the shadow of Your wings and You give us shelter and rest. You are our refuge and fortress in this world of unrest, and we trust in You. Your faithfulness is a shield and strong tower for us. We have nothing to fear in the day or the night.

 

You give Your angels charge over us to keep us. Even if we fall, they are there to sustain and guard us. Since we love You, You rescue us, and You protect us when we walk in Your will and ways. We call on You and You answer us, deliver us and give us honor in any sort of trouble (Psalm 91:1-16).

 

Thought for the Day:

Since the Lord is with us, there is no reason for us to feel fear. Man can do nothing to us if God is right there with us, helping us and delivering us from every sort of evil. – Psalm 118:6-7