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

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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

No Idol Will Stand

What irritates you? What is your pet peeve? What steps on your last nerve? That is an idol in your life. Okay, maybe you do not daily worship at the altar of that idol, but when you are feeling that stress and negative emotion about that issue, you are. Anything that distracts us from peace with God is an idol. Lay it down at the altar.

King Jesus is the Lord, and it grieves Him for us to give our entire focus of attention to another person, activity or thing (Isaiah 42:8). Once we surrender that issue to God, His Spirit helps us to change our focus about it, or to let go of our penchant for worrying, complaining and being distracted by it.

When it stops bothering us, we see the Lord exalted on His throne of our life, and His holiness and glory will fill our life (Isaiah 6:1). As we recall the abundant goodness God provides for His children, our heart bursts out in song; and the petty grievances that once robbed us of our joy seem insignificant. God’s new mercies meet us every single morning and give us His strength as our stronghold.

In times of trouble, He is our refuge. As we elevate our loving God in our life, our heart is filled with praises to Him (Psalm 59:16-17). With His good name and His reputation as our main concern, we walk in His ways and wait for His direction for our day (Isaiah 26:8). This prevents us from thinking about, speaking of, or walking in any unrighteousness at all.

Prayer:
Father God, You chose us to witness of Your love and to serve You. Your counsel and wisdom for us in life are absolutely wonderful (Isaiah 28:29). You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8). You already ordained every day of our life on this earth. Your purpose and pleasure are the only aspects we perform, which will stand for eternity (Isaiah 46:10). When we think about Your mighty works both for Israel and for Your Saints throughout all generations, we realize that You are God and there is no one like You (Isaiah 46:9).

Thought for the Day:
We understand and believe that Jehovah is our Almighty God and that no idol ever comes before Him or will ever come after Him. – Isaiah 43:10

 

Serving One Another

The work of God’s Spirit within us depends upon our cooperation with Him. We cannot produce fruit without His presence in us; but He cannot produce fruit in us, if we are not willing to surrender every area of our life to Him. As the Spirit gives us God’s character and special gifts, we use them to serve one another (1 Corinthians 12:4).

The Holy Spirit enables us, by the grace of God, to be good managers of His diverse gifts within us (1 Peter 4:10). God instructs us to care for others, but He also cautions us to care for our needs as well (Matthew 22:39; Philippians 2:3-6). If we neglect our own salvation, or our physical, emotional and mental needs, then we will have no resources to share with others.

We will run out of emotional and physical energy. We will end up bitter and resentful, because we will do all of the serving. It is important for us to care for our self too. Some believe it is selfish to care for our self. I used to think that as I served others, they would serve me, and both our emotional tanks would be full.

This put an undue burden on others to give to me as much as I gave to them. They did not have the resources within them to do this, so we all ended up losing. My expectations were constantly disappointed and I battled to keep myself encouraged and motivated to continue serving anyway. What I finally learned was that codependence with other people is an illness.

We are to depend only on God in our life. We are to obey His Spirit’s direction each moment of the day. If we serve someone, without His direction, we may divert God’s dealings in that person’s life. As we function in God’s spiritual anointing, we never run out of energy to serve those to whom God leads us to minister. We can even meet our own needs as God’s Spirit brings them to our attention.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to rely on You for every need in our life. Please encourage us with the truth that it is acceptable to ask for our needs to be met too, and to meet our own needs if no one else will. Help us to make friends who will bring blessings into our life rather than those who suck the life right out of us. Teach us to erect boundaries for those toxic people who attempt to take advantage of us. Remind us that we should minister to others only as Your Spirit directs us throughout the day. We will show the love of Christ to others as You make a way, not as our human compassion demands.

Thought for the Day:
Authentic Believers dwell in, exhibit and function from the righteousness and holiness of God in our service to those God brings our way.

Our True Treasure

Psalm 131:1-3 are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. They speak about our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings, which is often overlooked in the Christian walk. Popular in our culture today is the concept of the Inner Child. Some mental health professionals deny the reality of the Inner Child, but just as many promote the existence of this ego state.

In these verses, David confirms the certainty of our soul with an Inner Child. Prior to our salvation, our Inner Child is often in control of our life. We are swayed by the desires of our flesh, and we do whatever feels good. Once we accept Christ, the old nature is dead in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4). We no longer find fulfillment in a sinful lifestyle. God is our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4, 149:4).

Our soul, including our Inner Child, now finds true contentment, which comes from God alone, regardless of our circumstances. David realized that the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (1 John 2:16) would get him nowhere in this life. David certainly was not arrogant, but he did desire the attention and approval of others, just like the rest of the human race.

We want respect and validation from those who mean the most to us. Yet, at times, this can border on pride. David deliberately discarded pride (Psalm 131:1). He found peaceful gratification in his relationship with the Lord. In the silences, which David enjoyed with our God, his peace returned to him, even when Saul pursued him. He found pleasure in God as his true treasure (Psalm 16:11).

Prayer:
Father God, You rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Help us to find serenity, joy and contentment of soul in You. Remind us that nothing this world offers equals to what You give us through Your mercy and grace. 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 pleasure and fulfillment in our Lord alone. – Psalm 37:4

The Beauty of God

There are times when we refuse to love one another, and the Holy Spirit is grieved. This severs our fellowship with our Father (Luke 6:37). At other times, we love one another too much and end up getting out of God’s will. We enable each other, and spend all of our time loving people until we forget to give God any of our attention.

We are so busy serving others that we spend no time in the spiritual disciplines of bible study, prayer and worship of our God and King. God calls us to wholly consecrate our self to Him and His Kingdom. As we obey, our heart fills with the joy of the Lord, which becomes our strength (Psalm 28:7). We enter His Rest for eternity (Hebrews 4:10).

In return, Christ becomes to us more than we could ever imagine. He fills us through all of our being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 1:19). As we enter His rest, we relinquish our need to rely on our self to provide our own way in this world. We walk according to the Spirit and are blessed of God on a daily basis (Galatians 5:16-25).

Sometimes, we doubt that God hears our prayers. Many times it is because we are telling Him what to do and expecting Him to do it. God does not take orders from us. He is not our Aladdin’s Lamp to grant our wishes. We tell him our problems and leave them in His capable hands, because He promises to eventually work them out for our good in His own way and timing (Romans 8:28).

All that we deserve is hell. Every sin we commit helped to crucify our Beloved Savior. Even our best efforts are just filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We do not deserve His love and guidance, but He freely gives it to those who believe on Him (Romans 5:6-7). That is the beauty of God. He loves us regardless of our performance and yearns for our time and energy for Himself (Romans 5:8).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit helps us in every issue we face in life. We usually have no idea how we should pray, but Your Spirit prays through us in deep expressions without words (Romans 8:26). Thank You for working Christ’s divine character and nature in us through Your promises (2 Peter 1:4). Thank you also for loving us when we were the least lovable, and for caring for our every need, sometimes before we even mention it (Isaiah 65:24).

Thought for the Day:
The Kingdom of God is within us and brings us righteousness, peace and joy through God’s Holy Spirit. – Luke 17:21