The Devil in the Details

It is the details of life, which often bog us down. Our priorities are sidetracked by the little demonic foxes that spoil the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15). They sway our thoughts and emotions until we lose our peace, fall out of God’s rest and end up drowning in stress.

 

The good things in life become the enemy of the best things. They demand our attention away from what is important. We fail to walk in God’s Spirit or perform His will for our day, because the details scream for our attention.

 

It is difficult to ignore those little nagging issues, which arise during the day and night. They are like a flashing neon sign that continually pull our focus back to them and away from God’s best for us.

 

We end up reaping physical illnesses, negative emotions in our soul and our spirit is malnourished from neglect. We feel like a failure and often start believing that we are hopeless. Yet, there is always hope in God.

 

Many details can be eliminated; for instance, immediately throw away that advertisement or catalog, which came in the mail; dust and vacuum once a week, and do not allow the gathering particles to bother you that collect in every corner and flat surface of the room until that day.

 

Separate the laundry in bins and only wash when the bin is full; wash dishes as you cook, so there is not a pile at the end of the meal; and, if necessary, allow yourself to leave the sink full of dishes and go to bed to get your needed rest for the next day.

 

Do not answer the telephone every time it rings – caller ID helps us to distinguish if our child needs our attention and everyone else can leave a message for us to hear at a more opportune time.

 

Make a grocery list and shop once a week or month or quarter, rather than running to the store every other day for some forgotten or needed item.

 

Making more little changes in the details of our home life, vocational activities and church ministries – as God gives us wisdom, changes our mindset and schedule.

 

We put our priorities in the proper order and we have more time for spiritual pursuits. Our life is more fulfilled and our spirit is nourished by our close intimacy with our Heavenly Daddy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for pointing out to us the areas where Satan uses the zillion details of the day to distract and discourage us. Give us Your wisdom to know how to organize and to make Your plans our priority. Help us to stay focused on the spiritual rather than on this earthly realm.

 

We want our day to start and finish in Your perfect will for us, accomplishing all that You called us to do at work, home and play. Draw our hearts to You and never let us go, as our intimacy with You deepens and our spiritual focus increases.

 

Thought for the Day:

Be aware of the minute details that tend to destroy us from the inside out, to interrupt our home life and relationships, and to spread the roots of apathy in our churches.

 

 

Into the Silence

The world is so noisy. All around us, even out in the country, social media, TV, car radios and stores are blaring advertisements and voices almost 24/7.

 

Many people have a noisy soul too. Their thoughts and feelings are bombarding them with negative issues that demand their immediate attention. They are weary and discover no rest, even in God’s presence.

 

In sleep they dream disruptive images, which come from their troubled soul. They argue with significant others in their life and even argue with their own self; finding no peace at all.

 

Only if we disappear into our spirit and immerse our self in God’s peace can we find ultimate silence regardless of the dissonance of circumstances around us.

 

As we sit in His presence, we get lost in Him and focus on His still, small voice within us. We worship with the angels and enjoy our front row seat with Jesus in heavenly places even now (Ephesians 2:4-7).

 

We sit in companionable silence with Him as we bask in the pleasure of God’s face shining on us as He takes joy in our company (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 80:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Finding comfort in the silent presence of our significant others is also a joyful experience. We may chat amiably or snuggle silently and recharge our battery for the coming tasks which will demand our attention.

 

Holding our child as they drift off to sleep is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. We watch their peaceful features and enjoy their unconditional love as their breathing slows and their tiny eyes droop.

 

Yet, our most meaningful relationship is dwelling continually in God’s presence. He permeates us with a quiet peace, sane direction, cheerful thoughts and a holy existence. We pray or listen as the moment dictates and enjoy the constant fellowship of His company.

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in Your presence we experience deep peace, unexplainable joy, and Your comfort and support as we share with You our tears of worship or burdens. You are kind to all of us who trust in and obey You. We wait patiently for You in our alone times and in the cacophony of daily living (Lamentations 3:25-26).

 

By faith, even in our worse trials and times of testing, we joyfully count on Your faithfulness to produce endurance in our soul (James 1:2). We dwell in our spirit and snuggle under the almighty shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). You give us peace which overcomes human reasoning, and You shower us with Your blessings regardless of the hardships we experience in this life (Philippians 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:
Times of silence give us rest, hope and strength to face the next trial.

 

Healing from Our Past

Humans often function on automatic pilot. We repeat tasks hundreds of times and pay no attention to the details along the way. Sometimes, “the devil is in the details”.

We get tied up in the details; and the good things we run around accomplishing rob us of the best things, which God called us to do with our life.

We wear different hats according to the requirement of the moment at work, home, church and play. We segment our soul and personality to meet the expectations of those around us.

Some of us dissociate from parts of our identity and suppress the expression of those personality characteristics. Sometimes, we experience trauma from which we use dissociative amnesia to escape the memory.

We cannot remember parts or all of our past; and, at times, even present events. We function on automatic pilot in multiple personalities in order to fit in or to cope. We lose part of our true self with every trauma we experience in life.

Some of us are schizophrenic, we hear our different ego states conversing with one another and we fear we are going crazy. One part of our self may sabotage or fight against the other.

This dissociative identity disorder attempts to save our life from the extreme pain of our past. Once the Holy Spirit moves into our spirit, He sorts through the various alter egos we create to protect our self.

He heals the pain of our past and allows us to release our grasp on various personalities we used to defend our self. We realize that God is here to protect us now and we have no need to hide behind alter egos.

Prayer:
Father God, the indescribable pain which human beings inflict on one another is caused by rampant sin and suggestions by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Regardless of what we experience, however, there is healing in Your wings (Malachi 4:2; Psalm 91:4); and we can hide beneath them until we heal and gain the strength to face this world with Your perspective.

We sing for joy as we snuggle into your feathers and find safety, comfort and security from this world, which often frightens us (Psalm 63:7). Help us to serve as a lifeline to others who also face traumatic events in this life, and give us opportunities to share Your comfort with them in very real and tangible ways.

Thought for the Day:
We can ask God to strengthen the inner being of those we love by His Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts and they may also find His eternal healing. – Ephesians 3:16

WHO LOVES YOU – Part 1 – The Love of the Father

God is head over heels in love with you (1 John 4: 8-11). God’s love is a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional “high”. Human love is merely a shadow of His love.

If the earth’s axis tilted a degree in any direction, if the stars fell from the sky, if a large solar storm erupted on the sun, if the oceans exceeded their boundaries, if animals no longer had an innate fear of man, if all the molten lava in the earth erupted at once, we would all die.

God’s hand, keeping the earth in perfect balance, keeps us all living and breathing and existing on planet earth. The natural order of the universe proves to us that God loves us.

When we repent of our sin, we realize that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. With God’s love, we do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated.

God constantly draws my attention to the fact that He is touching me with evidences of His love through a variety of means. I call them God’s Little Hugs.

He reveals His love through things like a bird’s outstretched wings, a perfect rose, a lady bug, the shapes of the clouds, the waves of the sea, the seasons of the year, a red cardinal chirping through my open window and in the numbers on the clock.

Escaping a devastating calamity is another occasion when we feel the love of God. When we see His hand protecting us from sudden and sure destruction and danger, our hearts swell with incredible gratitude and love for God.

To realize that God actually intervened for you makes you feel so precious, cared about and loved. At times like these we feel His love surrounding us and keeping us safe.

His love flows through us and out of us to everyone He brings into contact with us. He restores us with His joy and upholds with His generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

Prayer:
Father God, when our heart is open to Your love, we can feel it pouring over us like a waterfall. We are drenched with Your continual love. Even the cells in our body are full of Your love.

I often feel like I am wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket of Your love. Your love gives us such a sense of security. Unsurpassed peace and joy flood our soul – our mind, will and emotions. We give You all the glory and praise and depend on Your love and Spirit to fill and guide us through every moment of our life.

Thought for the Day:
All through the day, I have learned to watch for the unexpected ways that God tells me, “I love you!”

Living in Praise

Did you ever notice that Paul was the eternal optimist? The man worked hard, almost died several times, was stoned, shipwrecked and in the sea a day and night, constantly in danger, sleepless, hungry and thirsty, and exposed to both hot and cold elements (2 Corinthians 11:22-28).

Yet, he told us to rejoice always; to pray without ceasing; not to quench the Spirit; and to give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

Does this mean to give thanks, because everything that happens to us is God’s will for us; or that giving thanks is God’s will for us? Either way, it is worth paying attention to this verse.

If giving thanks is God’s will, then when we praise the Lord, we are in God’s will; and when we do not praise the Lord, we are out of God’s will for us.

If Paul is saying that we should give thanks in good times and in adversity, because all of these circumstances are the will God for us, then when we do not praise Him, we are missing out on part of the miracle, which God has for us through this trial.

Recently, our air-conditioning was out for two days during the hottest November on record in southwest Florida. I was dripping sweat, irritable and claustrophobic – because the heat imprisoned me and I could not escape it.

This caused me to remember my childhood and first pregnancy; when we had no air-conditioning at all, because of our lack of income. My mom used a wet wash cloth on her neck, so I did too. It helped this time too.

As I prayed during this inconvenience, God brought Paul’s exhortation to my mind. I realized that I was not to grumble or to allow my flesh to get the better of me; and I was to walk in the Spirit and praise God, even in the suffocating heat.

Easier said than done; but I have been learning to live through my spirit and not my flesh and this was just another opportunity to practice. I truly was thankful that the circumstances were not even more dreadful.

Prayer:
Father God, I really wanted Your permission during this trial to be grouchy and to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to complain and gain sympathy from family and friends. However, I knew this would only make others miserable too, and I would not grow in my spirit with negative behavior or remain in Your will without praising.

I know that You were building character in me and preparing me for future events in my life; therefore, I chose to change my focus and to praise You with each drop of perspiration. I was even able to thank You that it cools down in southwest Florida on November evenings, and that I still had electricity and could run the fans. Thank You for living through this trial with me.

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of the circumstances, we are to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:12-16), and to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Galatians 5:15-25).

Walking in the Spirit

There is a fine line between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Our human soul – our mind, emotions and will – has definite opinions about everything, and wants to be heard in the midst of our day.

Of course, this is a very important exercise. We often neglect our body and soul. We push our body to the limit, ignoring warning signs. We discount the cautions of our soul.

We grab a protein bar instead of eating a balanced meal. We fail to exercise, because we have one more item to accomplish for work. We do not realize that we are full of destructive negative emotions.

Yet, our body, soul and spirit work much better when they are all in sync with God’s Spirit. We care for our body, pay attention to the way in which life is affecting our soul, and we stay in tune to God in our spirit.

God used the game of Scrabble to give me an object lesson on listening to the Spirit rather than obeying the thoughts in my mind.

Rather than to look for a word I already know, I listen to the Spirit and place the letters He tells me to use. I learn new words, earn more points and learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of my own human reasoning.

When we walk in the Spirit, we stop making our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans for our day instead. We stop considering our human reasoning and seek only God’s will for everything that we do and say as we follow His desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit allows us to more easily discern His prompting throughout the day. The voice of our soul eventually dims, and it is easier to hear the direction of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us an example of Your love and deliverance by freeing Israel from Egyptian control. In our similar dire circumstances, You always give us Your comfort, which increases our joy (Psalm 94:19). When we are overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and fears, You are right there within us.

You care about Your children who honor and obey You (Psalm 15:19). Our only true joy is in You, because You give us triumph over life’s hurdles as we feast even now on our inheritance as Your children (Isaiah 58:14).

Thought for the Day:
When we walk in the Spirit, we listen for His peace, which surpasses human understanding; therefore, we have less anxiety, because we pray about each moment of our day. – Philippians 4:6

Experiencing God’s Presence

There is no place on earth more fulfilling than living in God’s presence. He reveals to us the path of life, fills us with His joy and gives us pleasures, which last for an eternity (Psalm 16:11).

His presence abides in us and He gives us His rest (Exodus 33:14). We continually commune with Him through prayer (Psalm 145:18-19). When we draw near to Him, He comes closer to us (James 4:8).

At times, we do not sense His presence, but He is always near to us, living within us (Genesis 28:16). We find Him if we take the time to seek Him with our whole heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Regardless of our behavior, His graciousness, compassion, attention, mercy and love accompany the presence of God in our life; although our sins will break His heart and grieve His Spirit (2 Kings 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brokenhearted people find soothing comfort in God’s presence; and, in our humility, He will save us from every one of our afflictions (Psalm 34:18-19).

God’s goodness is magnanimous to those who submit to Him. Words fail to describe what He has planned for those who trust Him (Psalm 31:19-20).

As our refuge and strength, God keeps us safe from every enemy, from strife and from gossips (Psalm 46:1). His plans are not evil, and He intends for us to prosper in Him (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, create a clean heart in us, and help us to refresh our commitment to You. We thank You for not casting us away from Your presence or removing Your Spirit from within us when we fall into sin (Psalm 51:10-11).

We come into Your presence with gratitude for all that You do for us, and we shout joyfully in praises to You. You are our great King, our Savior and God (Psalm 95:2-3).

Thought for the Day:
We joyfully serve the Lord and dwell in His presence with a continual song in our heart and on our lips. – Psalm 100:2

Living in the Moment

The Serenity Prayer, the whole prayer and not just the first paragraph, teaches us to live in the moment. This is the key to living a life full of the peace and joy of the Lord.

The next moment does not yet exist; five years ago only exists as a memory and can no longer really affect this current moment; unless there are unresolved issues from our past, which still haunt us today, and which God wants to heal.

The only true reality is now…this one moment in time. We may pass from life one moment from now; so living this current moment fully is imperative to our joyful existence.

The excitement about this one moment of time is that we do not have to wait for it. It is already here. We can make of it what we choose. We can live in God’s perfect will for every single moment of time (Ephesians 2:10).

As we pay attention to this exact moment, we take note of our breath. Is it shallow and tense or peaceful and deep? What thought is in our mind? Are we concerned about an issue or enjoying the presence of God?

What emotions accompany our thoughts? Are we angry, anxious, addled or are we basking in the love the Lord? How does our body feel? Is there pain, are we tired, do we have an unusual amount of energy?

As we learn to be present in the moment with our self, then we can take the next step of being present in the moment with God’s Holy Spirit. Abiding within us, He gives us creative options, inspirational direction and Godly wisdom.

Do not be afraid of paying attention to who you really are inside. You may not like yourself, but God loves you. So you have value, which you never explored or acknowledged, just waiting for you to discover.

We do not need a mask, addictions or an escape to deal with our negative emotions or circumstances. This only postpones the inevitable need to face who we really are. Take time to look in the mirror and to love your self.

Living in the present helps us to care for our own needs, as well as the needs of people God brings into our life. We will look deeper than the manifesting emotions, into our own heart and into the heart of others.

God will give us discernment about the true needs in our soul or in the life of our family, friends, acquaintances and even total strangers that we meet along the way.

God will show us how He wants to use us to help, heal, provide for, or to pray for these needs. As we walk in His Spirit every moment of every day, we further His Kingdom.

Prayer:

Father God, most of us have calendars that are so full of activities and responsibilities that we have no time to just “be” in Your presence. We rattle off a quick prayer as we rush out the door, but we have not truly connected with our self or with You.

Teach us to fully abide in each moment of time. Help us not to regret the past or fear the future. Remind us that You have a perfect plan for every moment of our life, and teach us to walk in Your Spirit through every one of them.

Thought for the Day:

God calls us to adopt the attributes of a little child – to trust the Lord without reservation, to be open to new experiences in life, to enthusiastically enjoy our current activities, and to joyfully, lovingly and freely walk in His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day.

– Matthew 19:14; Galatians 5:15-26

Healing Spiritual Deprivation

Our world abounds with the masses of humanity in profound spiritual deprivation. They refuse to trust in Jesus for their salvation, because they do not want to submit to an entity, which cannot be proven to their human mind.

For some, their pride and rebellion thwart them from experiencing the wondrous provision of their Heavenly Father, who loved them enough to suffer the horrendous persecution and then death on Calvary’s cross.

Others were disappointed by God or someone in the church, and they hold a grudge against religion. They do not see that spirituality is about Jesus, not people; and that God had something better in store for them instead of what they wanted.

God did not create humanity in order to set us up for failure or to condemn us. Yet, anyone who fails to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and refuses to repent of their sins and trust Him with their life, has already condemned themselves to an eternity in hell (John 3:18).

God came to earth as a human being to pay the penalty of our sins. Therefore, anyone who repents of their sins, and believes in Him enough to trust Him for salvation, is forgiven of the sin debt we collected throughout our lifetime (John 3:17).

God did this because He immensely loves each person ever born (John 3:16). He actually knows the number of hairs we have on our head at all times, even though they fall out and new ones grow each day (Luke 12:7). He saw us as we developed in our mother’s womb, and has a wonderful plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13, 16; Jeremiah 1:5).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for working out the circumstances in our lives to draw us closer to You. You came to earth to redeem us, because You want to shower us with blessings as Your adopted children. We give You our willing, undivided attention. You replace our carnal nature with the fruit of Your Spirit and You work in us the divine nature of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). Teach us to commit each minute of every day to You and to listen to Your Spirit’s direction as we walk in Your will.

Thought for the Day:
As we bring everything to God is prayer, with thanksgiving in our heart for His provision in His own timing and way, we will live a fulfilled life.
– Philippians 4:6

Rebounding Does Not Always Mean to Bounce Back

The practice of rebounding occurs during basketball, but also during dating. It is used to describe a new relationship, which occurs by ricocheting from the door slamming on a past relationship. The person who is rebounding falls for one of the first people to give them attention after their divorce, and they quickly form a commitment without consulting the Lord.

This is tragic. In new relationships, we should take our time and seek the Lord’s will in them. We need to pay attention to every red flag that pops up during our interaction with this new person. It is far better to live alone than to shackle oneself to someone, which is not God’s will for us (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24; Proverbs 17:1). We need to spend quality and quantity of time with any new person.

Carnal attraction is the main reason many people choose a mate; yet, this wanes with familiarity. If we do not develop a friendship and a genuine caring connection, our new relationship may not weather life’s storms either. We will end up in another bad situation and heading for divorce court all over again.

Instead, use your time as a single person to minister as the Lord directs, join group activities to cultivate new friendships and work in church ministries to meet people who share your common bond of faith. If God wants you married, He will bring along a new mate in His timing. He may take longer than you would like, because He wants to work out issues in your personality and soul, which need healing first.

Prayer:
Father God, sometimes divorce is inevitable, especially in cases of infidelity or if our partner is determined to leave us. Please help us to focus on our relationship with You in our times of grief and solitude. Remind us that watching romantic movies and reading novels will reinforce our feelings of loneliness. Keep us from rebounding or using addictions to fill the void in our life. The deeper we delve into Your Word, Your people and Your ministries, the less lonely we will feel and the more Your joy will fill our heart. Joy and contentment in You will ease our feelings of isolation and disappointment.

Thought for the Day:
Listening to Christian worship and hanging out with the Body of Christ, as we focus on God’s will for our life, will help to fill our soul with God’s peace, joy and love.

For further reading, check out:
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian_singles/being_single_and_faithful/reentering_the_dating_scene_after_divorce.aspx