The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness from areas such as: circumstances, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, and church, we can experience both elation and disappointed.

In disillusionment, we even give in to fear and anxiety. We feel apprehensive about the future. God taught me to find freedom from fear by not focusing on more than one moment at a time.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us in a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. However, there is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis.

We can continually dwell in an emotion deeper than happiness. This emotion is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life. It is a fruit, which God’s Spirit works into our nature.

It is also our strength to traverse the negative path we experience in life (Psalm 28:7). There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

Even during dire circumstances, the Body of Christ world-wide, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and trust our amazing God for His constant provision.

Living in continuous joy depends on our focus and attitude. If we focus on the negative circumstances, it affects our attitude and dampens our joy. If we keep our mind on the delight Christ sets before us, we abide in His joy (Hebrews 12:2).

Prayer,
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). This one fact gives us all the joy we need to traverse the worst circumstances we will ever face.

Thought for the Day:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy always comes with the dawning of each new morning. – Psalm 30:5

The Reasons We Over-React

We over-react when we use more emotion in our response than is necessary. The issue does not warrant the intensity of our reaction, but we over react for many reasons.

An over-reaction may be due to emotions in our subconscious, which are connected to unresolved issues in our past. Satan planted a lie in past trauma, and these lies fuel our current reactions.

For instance, our mate’s behavior reminds us of the behavior we experienced with someone else in former times. Our soul combines the pain we felt back then with the pain we feel in the moment, and the vehemence is overwhelming both to us and the person receiving our wrath.

God wants to help us to resolve these previous issues by discovering Satan’s lies and hearing God’s Truth. This negates the power of the lies, and the intensity of our over-reaction because of them. Once the past pain is gone, it no longer intensifies our emotions in the current moment (www.theophostic.com).

Another reason for over-reacting is that we make assumptions and react before getting all of the facts. For instance, our mate is late…again. We assume there is an affair and we blast him with the anger fueled by our devastation.

The remedy for over-reacting due to misconceptions is to gain all of the facts before we react. Calmly sit the person down and ask them to explain their behavior. When we see their actions from their point of view, we may realize Satan planted another lie, which caused our assumption.

Another reason for over-reactions is that many people refrain from nagging by swallowing irritations or slights each time they occur. We think they are gone, but they are actually stored in our subconscious mind. They pile higher and deeper until one final trespass triggers a violent over-reaction.

The person who prompted this response from us looks at us as if we have two heads. They cannot understand why some insignificant occurrence would cause us to over-react so emotionally and sometimes violently.

The remedy for this is to ask God to reveal the reason every time their behavior irritates us or hurts our feelings. Is there an idol in our life, which we must lay at Jesus’ feet? Do we have preconceived notions, for which we need clarification? Is there a misunderstanding that needs an explanation?

Once we discover whether the problem is in their behavior or our perception, we are free to discuss it with them quietly and calmly. We no longer allow issues to build up within our soul.

We may need to request that the person change their behavior. If they try to change and fail, we can give them more opportunities to change their habitual conduct. We would want them to give us more chances as well. However, we may need to set boundaries until a resolution is found.

Another cause for irritation is that we fail to make sure the person paid attention to us when we made a request. They have to focus on our words and hear and understand what we are actually saying.

Otherwise, they may think they are fulfilling our request, only to find out they only paid attention to half of what we said. Or maybe they were focusing on something else and not paying attention to us at all or they have “selective” hearing.

We can rectify this issue by asking the person to repeat what we just said. Then, we can ask them when they think we can expect our request to be fulfilled. We can make sure that they take us seriously and do not discount our request to have our needs met.

Another reason that we over-react is that we misunderstand what is said. For instance, Sally made the statement to Mary that she was faithful in attendance to Bible study. Mary thought Sally said that she was thankful that Mary missed attendance at Bible study. Mary was offended for no reason, because she simply misunderstood a word that sounded similar, but had a very different meaning.

Over-reactions are sudden bursts of passionate emotions, which end as quickly as they erupt; however, like a volcano, they leave behind deep scars that ruin the composition of the relationship.

Prayer:
Father God, human communication is one of the hardest feats we must accomplish in our lifetime. We all speak and hear from prejudices, which interpret what is said from our own paradigm.

That is why You inspired James to tell us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). We must listen with twice as much attention, so that we do not react with anger, or trigger an angry reaction in someone else.

Thank You for helping us to face the pain of our past and to hear Your Truth about Satan’s lies, so that each issue resolves and never hurts us again. Thank You for teaching us not to take one another for granted, to turn off the TV or computer, or to put down our book, phone, game controller, etc and pay complete attention to one another when we communicate our feelings or needs. Thank You for reminding us to communicate with You during each moment of our day.

Thoughts for the Day:
At times, wounds caused by an over-reaction may never heal, and friends or mates part company; when instead, one of these simple resolutions could put out the fire at the very core of the issue.

Quiet Moments

The hardest practice for modern humans to develop is to sit still! In times past, once the chores were done, families sat around on the porch and talked, sang and told stories.

We have no time for that anymore. We are overly scheduled with activities that will not matter in eternity. God tells us to be still and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10); however, we rarely take the time to abide in His presence.

If we sit quietly in God’s company, He floods our spirit and soul with His attributes and the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He warms our entire being with His presence and He guides us through each moment of our day.

The curse, which Adam and Eve brought upon the earth affects creation, as well as humanity. We all long for the return of Christ as Lord and King, with the government on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).

Even nature responds to God’s love. The stones will cry out if God’s people refuse to praise Him (Luke 19:28-40). All of creation actually groans for the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-22).

Our new birth in Christ fills the aching void in our life and makes us complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Our hungry soul changes from desiring more of the world to craving more intimacy with Him.

This only occurs when we increase the quiet moments in our day. We wait on God between each activity, to seek His will for our next endeavor.

We ask Him to guide everything, which we think, say and do. We walk in His Spirit and find our joy in the center of His will (Galatians 5:15-25). He alone is worthy of all our glory, honor and praise (Revelation 5:8-14).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to conform our thoughts and behavior to the values of this world, but to allow Your Spirit to transform us by renewing our mind until we walk in Your good, perfect and acceptable will (Romans 12:2).

Remind us not to plan our own life, but to realize each day that Your Spirit resides within us and will control our life as we completely surrender to You. He will heal our soul – our mind, will and emotions; direct our steps and help us to live in Your eternal peace, joy and righteousness (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
God is worthy of our quiet attention all throughout the day, and He deserves the glory and honor for all that we accomplish in our life, because He gives His power to all of His creation. – Revelation 4:11

Nothing is Impossible in Christ

As a new Christian, our character is still flawed with sin. However, as we allow God to sanctify our carnal nature, we grow into a more mature Christian, exhibiting the fruit of God’s Spirit and having the nature of God (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). We accept His holiness in exchange for our sin.

The Holy Spirit is not limited by time and space. Even though our perfection is not evident in this earthly realm in which we live, it is already complete in the heavenly realm.

Sometimes, fear attempts to cripple our soul and causes us to relinquish our power and hope to Satan. In our new life in Christ, God gives us power over Satan and his debilitating negative emotions (1 John 4:4).

God also provides us with His unconditional love to give us confidence to live in His peace and joy. As we base our hope in God, no threatening storm will intimidate our stability in Christ.

Christ alone is our chief corner stone in God’s house made without hands (Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Corinthians 5:1). We live, move and have our entire existence in Him (Acts 17:28). Christ is not ashamed to call us family (Hebrews 2:11).

We no longer live for our selfish pleasures, because Christ lives within us. The life that we now live in our mortal body is lived through our confidence in and the faith of the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

Prayer:
Father God, at times we find it difficult to muster the faith necessary to live through life’s circumstances (Hebrew 11: 6). Remind us that in these trying times, we can pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). In doubt we accomplish nothing. In faith we have no limits to what is possible for those who trust in You.

In prayerful, peaceful confidence, Christ is our strength and our whole life (Isaiah 30:15; Colossians 3:3-4). Remind us not to make our own plans for the day, but to walk in Your perfect will for every moment of our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
We victoriously withstand any storm or trial, because our faith is built on the Rock of Christ.

​A New Creation – Part 1

As a child, I felt insecure and fearful about tomorrow. I desperately attempted to control my life in order to feel as safe as is humanly possible. I did not want to leave anything to chance, because it usually turned out badly. I focused inwardly and took care of my own business.

Introverted and analytical, I lived a very cautious life with intense self-discipline and attention to details, so I would not cause anyone to get upset with me. I disliked change of any kind and I reacted in anger when my security was threatened in any way.

My favorite activity was to sit in our giant China-berry tree in our back yard, engrossed in a book until sunset. I also enjoyed crafts of all kinds. My mom and grandmother taught me to do needlework, and I learned to do many other crafts from the instructions in library books.

Throughout childhood, I was way too sensitive, felt too deeply and cared too much. I had no real friends except my cousins and my Girl Scout troop. I had no dreams or aspirations, except making it through the day in relative peace and calm. These traits followed me all through high school.

In adulthood, my loyalty to God, friends and family served me well as a Born Again Believer. I still do not need many friends, but I am merciful, caring and loyal to all of my acquaintances. I am still easily embarrassed and shy. I feel overwhelmed in a group and I prefer talking to people one-on-one.

However, God impressed on me the importance of stepping out of my shy persona and allowing His Spirit to minister to people through me. Ironically, He called me to serve Him as a greeter in social gatherings, and as a Pastor’s wife, living in the limelight under microscopic scrutiny.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for using these years of my life to transform me with the mind of Christ. My penchant for perfectionism made me, and everyone around me, tense and uptight, until You mercifully delivered me from that demonic plague. You taught me that doing my best was all that anyone could ever expect from me. Then, You took it one step further and encouraged me to walk in Your Spirit as You transform my life.

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, our old personality is dead and we no longer live for our self, because the Spirit of God abides within us and we are buried in Christ and raised to walk in a new life. – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4

Understanding Peculiar People

When we experience a negative event, which is stressful, abusive, unexpected, out of our control or happens regularly, we give it the term “trauma”. Devastating traumatic experiences will cause permanent damage in our soul, which medical practitioners call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This will often cause people to exhibit eccentric and sometimes abusive behavior.

Trauma colors our view of life, blows current events out of proportion and causes suspicion, insecurity and fear. We are permanently stuck in a flight or fight mode in dealing with life. Our soul uses anger, depression, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, mistrust, unpredictable behavior, physical ailments and sometimes self-inflicted injury to attempt to protect our self from future abuse.

The effects of trauma not only upsets those of us who suffered the ordeal, but we also traumatize the significant others in our life, when they unwittingly scratch the covering off these deep-seated, emotional wounds. Our negative response to current issues is much more intense than the problem warrants and people wonder why. We may react in intense anger or physical blows to protect our self from perceived injustices.

Putting time and space between us and the people or events, which continually trigger our pain will help us to calm down and get in touch with the reality of the present moment. We can take a walk, go for a drive, sit alone to journal or spend the night at a friend’s house. Then, we can go home with a clear mind and brainstorm with our significant others on how to prevent these flare-ups in the future.

They can help us by realizing that our over-reaction is prompted when their behavior causes us to flash back to the pent up pain in our soul. This way, they will not take our reactions personally and they will dwell with us with understanding; they will help us to calm down and see the reality in the situation; they will stop their behavior, which triggers our past pain; and they will provide us with patience, unconditional love and a calm, stable environment.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for revealing to us the lies, which Satan planted in every one of those negative events in our past, and for speaking Your truth, which displaces those lies in our soul and sets us free from the pain and effects of the trauma we experienced ( http://www.theophostic.com ). Your Spirit helps us to put the trauma of our past and the current behavior of others into an eternal perspective, so it will not bother us so much.

You also teach us not to judge other people who get on our nerves, who do not respect our boundaries or whose behavior makes us feel abused or misunderstood. Remind us to allow You to use us to pour out Your love and understanding on these wounded individuals, and thank You for putting people into our life who help us to heal from the trauma of our own past.

Thought for the Day:
Negative emotions in our soul, signal an issue, which we need to bring to God for healing or for repentance and surrender.

Our God in the Valleys

We often confuse a temptation, and the verses dealing with it, with trials and tribulation. People quote the verse that God does not tempt us and use it to mean that God does not allow overbearing tribulation and trials in the life of an authentic Believer (James 1:13). They insist that trials are an attack of our archenemy – the devil.

However, temptation is an allurement to sin, and tribulation is a negative circumstance through which we are forced to live. There is a difference. Some preachers and teachers attribute all adversity in our life to Satan and his minions. However, even if Satan does cause the difficulties, he can only function with God’s permission (Job 1:8, 2:3).

Although God does not tempt us, God does ultimately allow trials, tribulation and rejection in our life (James 1:13; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6; Romans 12:12). The key to entering the depth of intimacy with God, which we all desire, is how we handle difficulties. If we lose our joy and peace when life tilts out of our control, then we are trusting in our self, and in our misconception that God will not allow His people to suffer.

God does allow tribulation and persecution in order to prove His love for us as He did for Job, or to teach us that He always walks through tribulation with us and turns everything around for our eventual good ( Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Romans 8:28, 35-37). He is our God even in the valleys of life. He teaches us to view life as He sees it, temporary and fleeting, and He instructs us not to trust in this world for our fulfillment (James 4:14).

Those who suffer most in this life learn the best that we rejoice in God’s presence and not in His presents, which He provides for us. Everything He gives us can disappear in smoke, but no one and nothing can take His presence away from us (Romans 8:38-39). The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, but God’s Saints bless the Lord either way (Job 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, we can put all of our trust in You because You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). You live within us and go through every trial and rejection with us, encouraging us from the inside out. No matter what we lost yesterday, we find Your mercy and grace with each new morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Whatever You allow to be taken away from us, You replace with more intimacy with You.

Thought for the Day:
Every trial is a seed for a miracle that God has planned for our life.