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

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

Three Types of Death

I was organizing my vitamin supplements and filling my two week pill box with each vitamin and mineral that I take either morning or night or both. I started to include the Vitamin D that the doctor prescribed for me a few years ago due to the lack of sunlight that I get in my daily routine.

 

I have faithfully taken it ever since; but…God’s Spirit told me not to put it in my box of supplements this time. I was incredulous and argued with the Spirit (yeah, I still do that occasionally!) I felt so strongly that I should not include this healthful vitamin that I had to quit arguing and agree to obey.

 

Then God’s Spirit told me to look at the ingredients of the capsule. This particular brand had the vitamin D encased in corn oil, which is one substance that causes a leaky gut. I am healing from this malady and have to be extra careful with corn oil.

 

I was so amazed that God is so minute in His love and direction that He even guides our paths concerning the toxins we unknowingly include in our diet. God is so worthy of all of our praise for the way He guides our steps and cares about every issue of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

As I thanked Him for His direction, God focused my attention to the concept of life and death. I did some research and realized that there are three areas of death that every human experiences.

 

The first is that our spirit is dead in trespasses and sins until we choose to accept Christ’s atoning work on Calvary’s cross (Ephesians 2:1-5). This provides us with salvation and the regeneration of our spirit (John 3:16-18). We are actually Born Again and alive in Christ in our spirit.

 

The second area of death is our physical death at some point in time, which results in an eternity either in heaven or hell. We are free from sin and death by our belief in Christ, or we condemn our self to an eternity in hell by our unbelief (John 3:18).

 

The third area of death is our soul’s death through sanctification, which releases us from slavery to sin and destruction (Romans 8:2). Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is gradually changed over the course of our life to mirror Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We slowly die to self and are more and more alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5; Galatians 2:20).

 

Prayer:

Father God, most people fear death. We have never experienced it before and we fear the unknown quality of death. We anticipate pain, and we worry about our eternal destination. Yet, in You there is no concern. Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in heaven. You delight in the death of Your Saints (Psalm 116:15).

 

As Solomon concluded, “The day of our death is better than the day of our birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1) Authentic Born Again Believers look forward to joining You for eternity once we leave this world behind. Help us to win as many people to faith in Christ as will receive Him – with open hearts, eyes, ears and minds – before it is too late.

 

Thought for the Day:

God guides our steps throughout our life and welcomes us with open arms into eternity with Him; He delights over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

 

Internal Calm

Once we go to the Cross of Christ and surrender our sin-filled life, the Spirit brings forth new life through His fruit and He starts to rid us of every obstacle that blocks His flow.

 

The more we allow sin to rule in our flesh, the more trials we endure. The quicker we relinquish our self-centeredness to God, the less tribulation we encounter.

 

Our attitude about life changes from earthly to spiritual. When God’s Spirit fills us, we cannot help praising Him. We even wake up with a song flowing through our mind.

 

Natural issues no longer bother us. We truthfully do not care where we live, what we eat or how many earthly possession we accumulate. In fact, we prefer the simplicity of life over the clutter of possessions and a stress-filled life.

 

We do not allow life to rob us of our peace, joy and contentment. Christ in us triumphs over sin in us. We are free from the power of sin, because we now live in our true identity in union with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

 

Prior to salvation, our spirit is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5). After Salvation, our humanity is dead to sin. We die with Christ through His death and we can no longer live in habitual sin (Romans 6:2, 6:5, 7:4; 2 Corinthians 5:14).

 

If we keep on living in sin, it is because Christ is not living within us (Romans 6:1-2). Although we are not yet perfect, we press on to attain this goal, because it is possible through Christ’s divinity within us (Philippians 3:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, once we realize that we are dead to sin, then we enjoy a fresh new life. We identify with Jesus’ resurrection and walk in union with Him (Romans 6:4-5). In Him all of our needs are met according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Your abundant and unconditional love flows over us like a waterfall and we are complete in Jesus (Colossians 2:10).

 

Thank You for giving life to our mortal bodies through Your Spirit who indwells us (Romans 8:11). Our physical body will tire from exertion, but we have Your supernatural energy in our body, soul and spirit because Christ lives His life in and through us. You give us Your peace so our hearts will not be afraid or anxious in times of trouble (John 14:27).

 

Thought for the Day:

Even when our soul is troubled, we find hope in God’s faithfulness to us and to those in our world all around us. – Psalm 42:11

 

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
 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Feelings Control Us?

We often experience feelings which we cannot express. We can communicate our basic mood such as happy, sad, mad, glad, frustrated, etc. However, we cannot distinctly and clearly share how we really feel unless we develop a more detailed vocabulary

( http://wire.wisc.edu/quizzesnmore/emotionwords.aspx ).

 

What type of happy do we feel? Glad or elated? Are we simply sad or actually depressed or devastated? Are we mad or annoyed or fuming? Expressing in more detail how we feel helps us to better understand our self, and allows others to better understand us.

 

Our feelings can totally overwhelm our soul. We believe that we must act on them or explode. Sometimes we do explode and end up wounding other people that we really care about.

 

Feelings are red flags to enable us to see how our environment is effecting us. We do not have to act on them, but we can use them to change our environment for the better.

 

We cannot control other people, but we can control our choices. If someone makes a choice that is intolerable to us, we can make our own choice to temporarily remove our self from that situation until it is resolved.

 

Our feelings do not define us, but they do express how our environment is affecting us. As we are aware of and describe what we are feeling, we can make changes to turn our negative feelings into positive ones.

 

We may change our focus, or we can change the situation, or we can pray for God’s deliverance from an unhealthy or unholy or unsuitable situation or environment, which we cannot change.

 

Journaling helps us to sort out our feelings; then if want to keep our feelings private, we can rip the page to shreds or burn it in the campfire or a coffee can!

 

The important point is to acknowledge and provide for our desires, which are using our feelings to indicate what we really need. When we validate our self, we affirm that we are special and deserve tender loving care.

 

God gave us feelings for our good, and we should pay attention to our soul and how life is impacting us. This gives us a feeling of being cared for, if by no one other than our Daddy God and our self. Sometimes, that is all we really need.

 

Prayer:
Father God, as we trust in and rely on You to know what is best for us, You always hear us from Your holy hill and You turn even the worse situation into blessings for our eventual good. We come to a breaking point in our life where we let go of control and dive into the current of life. Instead of fighting the circumstances, we go with Your flow as You use us for Your Kingdom work.

 

At times we cling to our feelings as a defense or as a reason to hide from reality or truth. We use them as a weapon and slay with our words what we perceive as the opposition. Your Word encourages us that a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Teach us to respond with a soft answer, no matter how upset we feel, and remind us that we are Your special children and that You love us beyond words.

 

Thought for the Day:

We can acknowledge our emotions and allow them to explain how our situation is affecting us, but then we can let them go and pray for God’s wisdom to see more clearly what action is needed to rectify the situation.

 

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.