Waiting Continually on God

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we can accomplish. Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Rote prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and wants to hear our own words (Luke 16:15).

 

God places His burdens upon our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for those laden by illness, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, and those suffering from other ill effects of this life.

 

Waiting continually on God all day long, we pray without ceasing, worship the beauty of His holiness, live in His presence and praise His holy name (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 16:11, 29:2, 138:2).

 

Once we entirely surrender to Christ in us, there is no limit to what God can do in and through us. We bow in humble adoration of our King and walk in perfect submission to His will.

 

He heals our diseases and nurtures our soul, lifting our head from the pillow of illness or a posture of depression; and putting a new song in our heart (Psalm 3:3-4, 40:3).

 

He takes our trials and tribulation personally, because He dwells within each one of us and experiences everything right along with us (Acts 9:4-5).

 

We hope in God alone as He sustains us, comfort us and puts a smile on our face (Psalm 42:11). As we find our delight in Him, He fills our soul and spirit with His glory and places His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You fill us with Your love in a world that is full of anger and hate. You encourage us when our soul is bowed with the cares of this life. You teach us to forgive when others fail to admit that they have mistreated us. You feel our pain and You carry us through our tribulation.

 

You lift our head from the pit of despondency and make our feet like hinds feet to climb higher still into Your presence (Psalm 18:33). We look forward to dwelling with you throughout eternity, because You are our great God, full of loving kindness and mercy (Psalm 95:3).

 

Thought for the Day:

It has been said, “When we go God’s way, we bump into the devil who is always trying to discourage us and derail our attempts to walk in God’s will.”

 

 

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 Abusive Behavior – Part 1

Abuse, even a one-time moment of rage that used abuse as punishment or an attempt to control the victim, robs us of our innocence and makes us feel powerless over our own life.

It drives us into a codependent role – attempting to please others to keep them from abusing us. The problem with this faulty thinking is that it often has the opposite effect.

People tend to continue to abuse our good nature, take us for granted and treat us with contempt. A lack of appreciation and more verbal, mental and physical abuse may follow.

We strive throughout our life to lay down our life in hopes that someone will love us; but we actually teach them that it is okay to take advantage of us, because we constantly put our needs last.

Trauma does not always make us stronger. It may also make us a ball of nerves, fear and insecurity. We are actually weaker, because we are always on the defensive.

We may develop PTSD, much like any survivor of a battle zone, and react to life with this fractured thinking and behavior. Medication may be necessary to help us to remain calm and lucid until God heals us.

Journaling helps us to heal by allowing our Inner Parent to understand the deep wounds we experienced and to nurture our Inner Child as we turn our words into a prayer for God’s healing.

Prayer:
Father God, I pray for victims of abuse of every type. Give them the deep comfort that can only come from Your love. Restore to them their joy in life and remove from them the fears and insecurities, which plague their life. Redeem their heart and mind and give them a new outlook on life.

Teach them that although people may not be trustworthy, You are always trustworthy. Help us to remain vulnerable and kind, yet wary and wise (Matthew 10:16). Show us the balance between serving others without teaching them to take us for granted by always putting our needs last.

Thought for the Day:
God’s perfect goodness and love find expression in the midst of wickedness and degradation; because He experiences every slight right along with us and carries our pain and burden for us, if we will relinquish it to Him.

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

The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

Understanding the Trinity

People accuse Christians of having three Gods. They cannot conceive of the concept of three persons in one God. Yet, the Bible is very clear that we have one Body, one faith, one baptism and one God who is over all, through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

 

There are many examples to explain the Trinity. My favorite is to consider a man: he is a son, a father and a grandfather; yet, just one person with three functions.

 

Another is a basketball with the outer pig skin, the inner tube and the air within the ball giving it substance and form; one ball with three parts and functions.

 

Yet another idea is an apple with the skin, the flesh and the core; one apple with three distinct parts, serving three distinct functions.

 

A triangle has three equal sides, which together make one complete shape. To my understanding, the Trinity is just that simple.

 

The confusing part with the Trinity is when God calls Jesus His son; yet, Jesus makes it clear that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). He said that if those in His day saw Him, then they have also seen the Father (John 14:7-9).

 

He also said that He had to leave the earth so the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). Clearly, one God with three distinct functions. Understanding the Trinity is just that simple.

 

There are many diverse denominations of Believers, but we are all one Body in Christ with many parts (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). God’s grace chooses us, claims us by faith, gives us hope for the future and sustains us throughout our whole life (Matthew 22:14; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, regardless of the denomination in which we choose to worship, You fill every authentic Believer with Your Holy Spirit. He joins us as one Body, one church, one Bride and one faith just as You, Your Spirit and Your Son are one. We are all one in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

Thank You for sending us Your Spirit to comfort, guide and counsel us in Your Truth. We rely on His direction through every moment of every day. We are eternally grateful to Christ for His sacrificial offering in our place, and we bask in Your presence, which fills every fiber of our body, soul and spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

Every authentic Believer is united with the Trinity who dwells within us; when someone as monumental as God moves in, there will be wondrous changes in our life.

 

God of Comfort

God is our comfort no matter what we are experiencing in life. When we persevere through a trial, we conquer the test and receive the crown of life promised by God to those who love Him (James 1:12).

I am not really motivated by rewards, but I am motivated by the thought of casting our crowns, which God gives us, at the feet of Jesus, our King and Lord (Revelation 4:10-11). After all, He deserves them.

When we lay our life down for the cause of Christ, working tirelessly in the service which He calls us to do, we receive His eternal crown of life – the carnal traded for the eternal (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 9:25).

When we go through trials, we change our focus from the suffering in this present world, knowing that our tested faith provides us with patience; and patience makes us perfect and complete, lacking in no good thing (James 1:2-4).

Through each test, God comforts us. We are faint, our bones are in agony, our soul is in anguish, we are worn out from groaning, we toss and turn and cry into our pillow all night long, our eyes grow weak with sorrow.

Yet, God hears our cries and accepts our prayers. He gives us mercy, delivers us and showers us with His unfailing love (Psalms 6:2-10). He keeps all of our tears in His bottle and will avenge every one of them (Psalm 56:8).

We simply admit our helplessness to our Helper (Psalm 10:12, 40:17). He guards our life, as we devote it to Him, call on Him and trust Him all day long (Psalm 86:1-4). We lift up our soul to Him and He comforts us.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our refuge and strength. You provide us with an ever-present help in times in life when trials seem to pursue us. They come in waves, one right after the other (Psalm 46:1). We take refuge in the shadow of Your wings and You save us and deliver us (Psalm 7:1, 57:1-3).

You are gracious to us in our loneliness and affliction, even when our troubles, infirmities and distress multiply one upon the other (Psalm 25:16-18). As our soul grows faint, we call on You and You lead us to the Rock of Christ, our firm foundation on which we can stand; our strong tower against any enemy (Psalm 61:1-4; Matthew 7:24-27)

Thought for the Day:
God gives us relief from our misery and shows us mercy as He listens to our prayers. – Psalm 4:1

Our True Reality in Christ

There is no need for us to frequent the “self-help” shelf at the library or bookstore, because the Holy Spirit is changing us through His sanctifying process, until we come to the fullness of Christ in us (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When we come to the end of our self, God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, becomes our comforter, guide, wisdom, encourager and the voice of Christ, who also dwells in us by His Spirit, as our way, truth and life (Colossians 3:4; John 14:6).

Christ in us is not a separate entity from who we are. He is as much of an integral part of us as He is to our Father God (John 17:21). Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

We surrender the control of our life over to God, because to think that we actually have any control over our life is ludicrous! Life happens and is always out of our control.

Just as Jesus did nothing of Himself, we follow His example. We die to our self and trust only in God. We live in union as one person with Christ in us. He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

The sooner we come to this place of total surrender to the will of God, content in the circumstance which He provides (Philippians 4:11), the freer and more joyfully we experience each day, captivated by His Spirit and His will.

As we decrease in our desires and control over our life, He will increase His control and put His desires in our heart (John 3:30; Psalm 37:4). Christ in us is our only true reality now and in eternity.

We are dead, and He now lives in and through us (Colossians 4:3-4). There are no formulas to follow, no effort on our part, no striving or quoting Bible verse, which can make this happen.

We simply surrender all to Him by letting go of our anxiety, negative emotions and idols, which imprison us, and letting God have His way in our life.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for revealing to us that this life in not about us; it is totally and abundantly about You in us (Colossians 1:27). You free us from bondage to the devil, the world and the flesh; and You allow us to walk intimately with Your Trinity abiding within us (Galatians 5:15-25).

Surrendering to Your rest is the only step we need to take to enter into this union life with You (Hebrews 4:10-11). We stop our stress, strain and list-making and follow Your Spirit during each moment of our day. When we walk in the center of Your will we find true peace, joy and rest in Your Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me, because we are unified as one being; He is the head and I am the body, which He uses for His glory. – Colossians 3:3-4

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

Hope in God – Part 1

During trials and setbacks, Satan discourages us and makes us doubt God’s love. We lose our hope, until we totally surrender our human confidence, dreams and goals to God (Proverbs 3:5-6).

No matter how long or dreadful we suffer in this world, we never lose our hope in God (Psalm 39:7). His Saints love Him, because the Lord faithfully preserves those who are faithful to Him.

We can strengthen our heart and have strong courage, because our hope is in God, not in our self or what we want out of life (Psalm 31:23-24). God never abandons our soul or brings us to ruin.

He leads us in His path of life. We find fullness of joy in His presence; and as we serve Him, we are delighted all the days of our life (Psalm 16:10-11).

Even when we suffer with negative emotions like discouragement and stress, we can still hope in God. As we praise Him, He puts a smile on our lips, a twinkle in our eyes and a jaunt in our steps (Psalm 42:5-6).

He encourages us and our soul rejoices as we remember His goodness and provision (Psalm 42:11). As we hope in God we hear His voice and recognize Him as our Lord and Savior (Psalm 38:15).

As we remember all that God does for us and the words He speaks to us, we set our hope in Him. He comforts us in our trials and His Son and His Word give us life (Psalm 78:7, 119:49-50).

Prayer:
Father God, You are our hiding place in times of insecurity and our shield when life frightens us (Psalm 119:114). Our soul waits for You, more than the night watchmen eagerly wait for the morning, and we put all of our hope in Your Word (Psalm 130:5-6).

Those who do not have a personal relationship with You are sick at heart, but our desire is for You. You bless us with Your life within us (Proverbs 13:12; John 14:6). As we walk in Your righteous ways, we have peace and joy (Proverbs 10:28).

Thought for the Day:
We continually hope in God and praise Him more and more every day. – Psalm 71:14