True Contentment

When life is free from stress and trials, we tend to forget God, to take credit for our successes and to change our focus from Christ-centered to self-centered.

God gives us room to follow our carnal desires and to experiment with our own plans and goals (Romans 1:24); so that when we fail or get the wind knocked out of us, we will run back to Him.

A trial brings us to our knees and reminds us that only as we are weak can we be truly strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We no longer find fulfillment in a sinful lifestyle. God is our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4, 149:4).

When God delivers us from various trials and temptations, our faith increases and we grow spiritually. We realize that we are now dead to sin and alive in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4).

Regardless of our circumstances, our soul finds true contentment, which comes from God alone. We gradually stop depending on our self and depend only on God. He becomes the very air we breathe.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We realize our utter dependence on His Spirit to guide us, comfort us and give us strength for each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30-35) and draws us into a deeper walk with Him. We devour His Word, and this life-giving source fills us with faith and wisdom for living in this insecure world.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to find serenity, joy and contentment of soul in You alone. Nothing that this world offers to us equals to what You give us through Your mercy and grace. Through our total dependence on You, we find Your strength for each moment of the day as we rise up to meet the challenges life throws at us.

We can rest in You, because You have all things under Your control. We want to tell the world what you mean to us. Give us daily opportunities to be a friend in order to win a soul to Your love. Take pleasure in us as we hope in Your steadfast love (Psalm 147:11).

Thought for the Day:
Our delight is always in the Lord, because we find our true contentment and fulfillment in God alone. – Psalm 37:4

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Life’s Disappointments

Considering the disappointments of our past, the uncertainty of our future and the unexpected surprises which meet us with each new day, we often feel frightened by a world that can be very overwhelming.

We always wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. We search our soul to discover if we did something to deserve the trials we are experiencing. We shrink from the pain and suffering inflicted upon us.

Regret and anger over our past mistakes, depression and loneliness in our current experiences and hopelessness and fear concerning the future make us regret the day we were ever born.

Yet, when we allow God to open the eyes of our understanding and to open our hearts to His eternal love, our life takes on a whole new meaning.

Our compassionate Lord experienced the same degree of suffering and degradation, which we do; and He understands how we feel. He suffered so much more than we ever will and He did it all for us.

He uses the sin-caused circumstances of daily living to strengthen our character, perfect our patience and draw us ever closer to His bleeding heart (James 1:4-8).

He is our hope, and our expectations are in Him alone. Apart from Him, there is no joy and peace in this life. He satisfies our longings and fills our empty soul (Psalm 107:9).

He heals broken hearts, answers our doubts, calms our fears, strengthens our endurance and gives us hope for a tomorrow filled with His presence, regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, we depend on your mercy to see us through this life, on Your grace to make us victorious over every negative experience, and Your goodness to give us a miracle from every trial. From Old Testament examples and New Testament encouragement we realize that You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You help us to remain faithful regardless of our experiences, never losing hope, never slandering Your name and always walking in Your righteousness; so we do not cause anyone to doubt Your goodness. Nothing can ever separate us from Your love except the distance that we put between You and us (Romans 8:35-39).

Thought for the Day:
As we are fully aware and present in each moment of life, we see how God is weaving them into a beautiful tapestry for us to enjoy.

Satisfy Longings with Rivers of Living Water

People all around us, both Believers and unbelievers, are dying of thirst. We are filled with the rivers of living water which they need (1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13). As we allow these rivers to flow out of us, fresh water flows into us.

This living water is not a one-time blessing, but a continual flow of eternal life flowing from Jesus and His Spirit who abide within our innermost being – our soul and spirit (John 14:14-17).

Water is also often used in the Bible to symbolize the life of the Holy Spirit filling us. He transforms us with the character, nature and fruit of the Trinity within us.

The fruit of the Spirit within us actually helps to provide our mate, children, extended family, friends, neighbors and associates exactly what they need to abundantly live in this world (Galatians 5:22-23).

As we walk in God’s Spirit, He gives us what we need to satisfy the thirst within us and within those He brings into our life. Of course, we cannot force others to drink.

Jesus dwelt on earth for 33 years, and most people rejected Him. They ignored Him, argued with Him, attempted to disprove His assertions and wanted to crucify Him.

They did not believe His claims as Messiah. Even His signs and miracles could not convince them of His deity, and that He alone offered their thirsty soul living water to drink (John 7:37-39).

These stubborn, prideful, rebellious people rejected and eventually crucified Him. They were looking for a reigning King rather than a stable-born, carpenter’s son.

They looked on the outward appearance rather than on the Holy Ghost power within Him. They did not recognize God in Him because they did not know God (John 5:23; 8:19, 42).

Prayer:
Father God, it is only as we know You that we realize we can ask You to quench our thirsty soul (John 4:10). You are our living water of life and satisfy all of our longings. We are completely immersed in and quench our thirst in Your rivers of living water which flow out of us to the world around us.

You fill us with Your Spirit, whom those who believe in You receive (John 7:37-39). He and Christ are rivers of living water abiding within us now and for eternity (Acts 10:44-45). Your Spirit seals us for salvation; ministers to us and flows out of us through our spirit, soul and body; and brings refreshing, thirst-quenching life to the world around us (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Thought for the Day:
Only Jesus satisfies the longing and fills the empty soul with both spiritual food and living water. – John 6:35

God’s Wisdom

In this dark and fearful world it is so hard not to hyperventilate, not to allow our mind to fry with evil possibilities happening to us or our loved ones, and not to allow Satan to overwhelm us with his lies.

One way to escape the penchant we have as humans to think of the worst case scenarios is to live in the moment. This keeps our heart and mind free from worry for our safety and provision.

If we are fine in this one moment of time, we need not worry about the next moment. If we are not fine, we can seek God’s wisdom about how to deal with the negative aspects of this one moment of time (James 1:5).

When we acknowledge God first, we abide in His peace as He directs our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). God promises that in this world we will have tribulation; but we can face it with joy, because He already overcame the world and He lives within us (John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6).

This way Satan, the world and our human tendencies of the flesh do not control our life through desires, insecurities, anxiety and concerns; but we are submitted and totally surrendered to Christ in us.

As branches on the Vine, we receive the supply of all of our needs, and we depend upon His strength to keep us stable and productive during the storms of life (John 15:5).

As we keep our mind focused on Him, He floods each day with His peace and joy, regardless of any turmoil or suffering we experience (Isaiah 26:3). We know that everything He allows in our life is for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

The fruit of God’s Spirit, the very nature of God Himself, branch out from us in all directions (Galatians 5:22-23). Our nurture and provision come from God alone, regardless of our vocation or situation in life (Roman 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, we cast all of our cares onto Your strong shoulders, because we know from experience that You care about us (1 Peter 5:7). Sometimes, circumstances make us feel that You do not care, or that You abandoned us, but often we are causing our own grief by our choices. We fail to consult You or to walk in Your Spirit, and we reap the consequences of our codependency and faulty thinking.

Remind us to keep track of all the times You answered our prayers. Rather than to take You and Your goodness for granted, we want to give You continual praise for all that You do for us each day. Help us not to get distracted by our busy life and our failure to keep our focus on You, so that we overlook the “hugs” You provide for us throughout the day.

Thought for the Day:
God’s wisdom from above is unpolluted by the world, agreeable, sympathetic, pleasant, full of compassion and fruitful, unbiased and genuine. – James 3:17

Trials are not Punitive

Some people think that if someone is going through a prolonged illness, time out of work, heart-wrenching grief or a trial of some sort, that God is trying to teach them something; and that once they learn it, they will be freed from the trial. Those in the trial beat themselves up by thinking they need to pray more, read their Bible more or make some attempt to appease God’s wrath.

This causes people to doubt their connection to the Lord and gives them hours of unrest and soul searching. Trials are not only times of correction and repentance, but also of renewal and sweet fellowship with our Father God. God is jealous and enjoys having us all to Himself. We find our self lost in the presence of God. We surrender all control to Him.

During times of trial, we have an abundance of time to spend with God. When we think back on those days of horrid illness, stress or persecution, we smile; not because we are masochists and love pain, but because our normal schedule is totally interrupted and we have free time. We are isolated from the world and able to spend that sweet time of oneness with the Lord.

Often, the Lord will give us a “holiday” through a trial, during which we can spend focused time worshipping the Beloved of our soul. During trials, do not trust in your own efforts or expect generosity from family, church and friends. Instead, wait with your whole soul – your mind, will and emotions – and put complete hope in the Lord and His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, You hear our voice in the morning, as we lay our requests before you and wait expectantly on You (Psalm 5:3). You love to spend all of Your time with each one of us. The next time we are without work, isolated by sickness or find our self alone through the death of a loved one or the devastation of divorce, we will take this time to spend entirely with You. When we do, we always find our self irrevocably changed in spirit, soul and body.

Thought for the Day:
We walk in the ways of the Lord and wait for Him, because His name and fame are the desires of our heart. – Isaiah 26:8

God’s Unfailing Love

God hears our prayers and answers them (Psalm 40:1; Micah 7:7). When our soul faints from trials and stress, we can put our hope in the Word of the Lord (Psalm 119:81). Our soul finds its rest in the Lord of our salvation, because our hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:1,5). When we trust in His Word, others who also fear the Lord will rejoice because they see our testimony of His provision (Psalm 119:74).

At times, we may feel disheartened or discouraged without any reason. God is putting a burden on our heart and we have no idea who to pray for or what is going on (Romans 8:26). However, God’s Holy Spirit knows and wants us to pray for God to work in these lives, for Him to send His ministering angels to protect them and for Him to provide for them in every area of their need. Prayer changes lives.

Even if we are the ones living through a time of illness, unemployment or estrangement from a child, spouse or parent. These negative circumstances give us an occasion to spend time alone with God. This is often one of the most precious periods of our life. As we linger in God’s presence, our soul is filled with strength, peace, love and courage.

Protect against limiting God’s glory by doubts and insecurities. Trust in His faithfulness to see us through every trial life throws in our path. He promises to work out even the most horrendous circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). God’s love is unfailing and His deliverance is abundant (Psalm 27:14, 130:5,7; Isaiah 8:17). He is our help and our protection (Psalm 33:20).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to spend time in worship and adoration all throughout the day. We thank You for all of the special “hugs” You give us in both the simple and complex ways You order our life. As we bask in Your presence, cover us with Your love and glory and fill us to the brink with Your Holy Spirit, so that we can accomplish Your will for our day.

Thought for the Day:
As we immerse our self in fellowship with God, His Holy Spirit fills our soul with inexpressible joy and transforms us into the divine nature of Christ. – 1 Peter 1:7-9; 2 Peter 1:3-4

Alone With God

How often do we plan to spend some time alone with God, and some earthly distraction looms before us, demanding our undivided attention? We look wistfully at our little prayer chair or prayer closet or secret place and feel the draw of God’s Spirit on our spirit. However, the world pulls our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – away from our Beloved Father.

Whenever God claims our attention, Satan makes sure that our mind wanders and our affections are torn. We cannot even finish the train of thought in our prayers before demonic activity highjacks our attention. God longs to liberate us from the demands of our temporal life and to set us free to soar with Him in the spiritual realm. He wants to remove us from our busyness and give us His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

Martha, Jesus’ friend, was distracted by the duties in her world too. She demanded that Jesus order Mary, her sister, to help her to get dinner ready. Jesus told Martha that Mary already chose the best course for her time. There would be plenty of opportunities for domestic activity when Jesus was not in their presence (Luke 10:42). Our duties are always with us too; so schedule time alone with God.

God wants our undivided, focused attention with our vision and thoughts on nothing other than His face. Then God comforts us, inspires us, directs us and loves on us from the depths of our soul. We must jealously guard this time, setting it aside every day or even several times a day. We also commune with God without ceasing all throughout our day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You call some of us to the ministry of intercession, and Your Spirit prompts us to lift up certain ones in prayer. Yet, we also spend alone time with You, because in Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11). You mold us by Your grace and replace our carnal flesh with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we contemplate Your glory, You shape us into the image of Christ, our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
Much is accomplished in the spiritual realm when we make the time to spend in the presence of God.