Praying without Ceasing

There is a penchant in humanity to take things to the extreme. Many in our society will make desperate attempts to gain more intimacy with God to the point of neglecting their duties to family and society.

They will cloister their self from life and spend their time in their prayer closet, reading God’s Word and listening to sermons. In an attempt at holiness, they desert all aspiration to communicate with anyone other than God.

Yet, in doing this they prevent God from using them to reach the lost and dying world around us. God instructs us to pray without ceasing at the same time that we do every mundane task of life for His glory (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Until the day on which He returns to claim His Bride for His own, God calls for His Saints to give Him a balance of devotional prayer in our closet and obedience to His will (1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15).

Then He will take us home to be with Him for eternity. Our current position in Christ allows us to see life from God’s perspective and to choose our words and actions according to the will of God.

In this way, we are always moving toward perfection, which is the prize of the high calling of God (Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:14).

 

Carrying on throughout our day, we pray without ceasing each moment in order to remain in His will (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Jesus taught the disciples how to pray using this formula (Matthew 6:9-13):

1.) Praising God’s majesty

2.) Anticipating the coming of His Kingdom

3.) Requesting our needs to be met

4.) Repenting of our sins

5.) Forgiving those who sin against us

6.) Acknowledging His Lordship

As we live in a place of communion with God during every waking moment, we have so much assurance of His love for us that we are able to rejoice regardless of the circumstance surrounding us (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:

Father God, as we walk in Your Spirit, we give thanks for everything that happens to us – the good, the bad and the ugly, because we know this is Your will and You always work out all things for our ultimate good (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17; Romans 8:28).

We rejoice and give You praise and thanksgiving for Your eternal care for everything that concerns us. We could never, ever repay You for Your personal love and care for each one of us. Thank You for taking a personal interest in our life and for providing for all of our needs.

Thought for the Day:

As we gather around the throne of Heaven, there will be a great innumerable multitude from every single nation, tribe, people and language group all standing there with us in worship and thanksgiving before our redeeming Lamb. – Revelation 7:9

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Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer one another, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Live Well with a Positive Attitude

I am so concerned about people who live from one day to the next in more pain and misery than they did the day before. Things never go right for them and they are always focusing on the negative aspects in their life. I know that some people are genuinely ill; but I have seen others, in the same position, with a smile on their face and a jaunt in their step.

If we do all we can to prevent the pain or circumstances in our life, then we can look to God to deliver us from them. He may surprise us by taking us home to heaven, or allowing some major decision to be made that will affect our life drastically. However, we can continue to live a positive life by focusing on the pure, lovely aspects, which He constantly supplies for us (Philippians 4:8).

Expectations ruin our life and our health. We expect deep relationships, abundant finances, stellar health and increasing spiritual growth each day of our life. When this does not happen, we are devastated. Then depression settles in, coloring every other aspect of our life. Our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health are all affected by our negative attitude.

We also get too involved in too many aspects of life; and this tires us out, pressures our schedule and makes us feel used and abused. We end up getting tension headaches, stress-related illnesses and our soul gets disheartened and miserable. We get grouchy, irritable and too sick to do anything. The answer is to live each moment in gratitude and praise, led by God’s Spirit in every aspect of our life.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to cast our cares on Your shoulders. You promise to take care of them and us (1 Peter 5:7). That means that we can thank You for the answers before we ever get them. If we focus on our troubles, we live in a negative spiral that can only get worse. This causes tension, fear, unhappiness and despair. However, if we live with our faith in You, we maintain a positive attitude. Then we will reap many more positive results in our life with Your love filling our soul with joy.

Thought for the Day:
Prayers of gratitude keep our focus on God’s Presence in our life rather than on our circumstances. – Matthew 6:25-33; Luke 12:22-31

The Cleansing Tears of Grief

Stress will kill the human body. We allow so much stress into our daily life that we often end up on medication to heal the results of stress on our body and soul. It affects our cardiovascular, endocrine, psychological and immune systems—as well as most of the other organs in our body and our spiritual health. There are many proven healthy ways to deal with stress.

(See: http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/19047-how-to-deal-with-stress-god-s-way)

 

We have stress at work, home and sometimes even in our social life, which makes us sick in body and soul. Scientists and doctors agree that God designed our body to shed stress hormones when we cry. This helps to protect our brain and bodily organs. When we grieve our disappointments and losses, our tears cleanse our soul, but they also help our body.

 

After times of tears, our heart rate and our breathing grow calmer. Tears also produce endorphins, which improve our emotional well-being. Allow your soul to grieve to the extent, and for as long as it needs to, in order to gain relief from your loss. Grief only affects us negatively, when we allow it to take over our life, to exclude us from healthy activities and to closet our self from life.

 

Tears will also alert those around us that we are hurting. These people usually respond with kindness and concern, and they benefit us physically and emotionally as well. Grief can strengthen our connections with family, friends and even perfect strangers who stop to show they care. Therefore, do not hold back your tears; let them flow.

 

God uses our afflictions to purify us, to teach us patience and to help us to learn to take authority over the devil (James 1:5). He also uses our grief to cleanse us of inordinate affections and idols, which are deeply rooted in our life. God always brings comfort to us in our sorrows, through other people and by His Holy Spirit. God uses grief to restore our soul to health (Psalm 23:3).

 

God strengthens us through our night of grief, and brings us joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). He is our ever-present help in times of trouble (Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 46:1-2). As we grieve through our sorrow, its strength dissipates and our soul feels lighter. We not only grieve the loss of people and pets, but also treasured objects that were ripped from our grasp unexpectedly. If we do not allow our soul to grieve these losses, we carry that pain with us all of our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we often hold on to our grief, because it brings us comfort in some distorted way. We do not realize that grieving through our loss is much healthier for us. Give to all of those who grieve the comfort, which only You can supply; Your deep, internal comfort, which changes our focus and attitude about our circumstances. Thank You also for the Body of Christ, which supports us in our times of sorrow.

 

Thought for the Day:

Blessed are those who mourn, for God will comfort them. – Matthew 5:4

 

Worry Wart

Worry has a way of robbing of us energy and blessings that are rightfully ours. It makes it clear to God that we do not trust Him. Most of what we worry about never happens; and if it does happen, most of the negative aspects we imagined never occur. It affects the attention we give to our task at hand and the people around us.

 

I never met anyone who changed their circumstance, the outcome of a circumstance or their future by worrying. Worry ruins our health and damages our emotions. It can even affect our relationships. Paul advises us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything and through prayerful requests make our concerns known to God (Philippians 4:6).

 

Then apply the Serenity Principle to the issue. Ask God for wisdom to know whether or not you can do anything about the matter; and if so, how to change it. If not, then change your focus about the problems, so that you can accept God’s will for you in them. We do not have to trust people, events or places; but we can trust God in all things. He has our best interest at heart.

 

When you are genuinely concerned about some matter, spend concentrated time in prayer about it. Journal how you are feeling and what you fear; and then jot down the outcome. Over time you will see how often you worry needlessly. Change your focus to doing God’s will for each moment of time. He promises to work all things out for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to trust You more and to worry less. Show us the futility of this habit and remind us that You have everything, even this matter, in Your control. Help us to think about all the times in the past when we worried needlessly and how You worked everything out for our good.

 

Thought for the Day:

Don’t let worry steal your peace and joy.

Dealing with Fear

Jesus could see the concern and anxiety for his daughter in Jairus’ face, along with the faith to ask Him for his daughter’s healing. Jesus encouraged this father with the words , “Fear not…only Believe.” (Luke 8:50). This is a perfect example to us of how our flesh and spirit, the carnal and the spiritual, struggle within us. We have a dichotomy warring in our soul and spirit, but God is able to help our unbelief (James 1:5-8; Mark 9:24).

The source of all fear is Satan’s doubts whispered into our mind. We give him permission to plague us by taking our focus off Jesus. Satan reminds us of all the negative situations we experienced in life, and of all the times other people had negative outcomes to similar situations. These unconstructive thoughts cripple us and diminish our faith. They often destroy our witness in the world around us.

God does not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). When we allow fear to influence our life, we agree with the devil and doubt God. Yet, exposing Satan’s lies allows our faith to grow. When we look at the circumstance as a new adventure in Christ, we have the hope that everything will turn out for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28). We strengthen our faith by reading, quoting and memorizing God’s Word.

Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8). There is no need to concern our self about our shortcomings or failings, because we do not earn Salvation by our good works, church membership or generosity in giving and serving (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). These works flow from our salvation, once it is secure in Christ (Philippians 1:6). Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and grows by walking in His truth (Romans 10:17).

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for what You did for us on the cross and for what You do for us each and every day. Satan wants us to believe that You forsake us, but You will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). You seal us with Your Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). We have confidence that You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10), and that You will complete the work in us, which You started (Philippians 1:6). Remind us to show our gratitude to You by serving You with our life.

Thought for the Day:
Rather than focusing on your problems, look for God’s purpose in them.

How to expose Satan’s lies:
Read these three free chapters:
http://theophostic.com/page13051343.aspx