Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

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Healing Relationships – Part 4

When our soul begins to heal, our personality, behavior and beliefs change. This may put our partner on the defensive and cause them to feel insecure.

Our relationship changes from independent, dependent or codependent to interdependent, and our family and friends are not used to it.

The healthy changes, which we make, will bring healing in our body, soul and spirit. It will help us to establish an interdependence with our mate, as they get used to the changes.

It will limit our negative reactions to one another, improve feelings of self-worth, change the way we meet our own needs and give us more energy to serve others as God’s Spirit leads us according to His will, rather than by codependent urges.

Intimacy increases, expectations decrease, and in conflict we blend differing ideas into a whole new concept on which we both agree. We are mutually interdependent with one another.

Unresolved disagreements cause a couple, which normally live in an atmosphere of cooperation, to form independent lives that disrupt their interdependence.

Interdependence means that it is healthy to have differing ideas, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, because these differences bring variety to the relationship.

Interdependence is living in a mutually reciprocal relationships. It is about forming intimate connections with another human being. We share the decision-making process in our relationship and mutually care about one another’s welfare and feelings.

We are conscious in our choices, own responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and readily admit when we are wrong.

We enjoy deeper, more meaningful associations, and greater productivity, service, contribution and growth in our relationship.

We cherish, appreciate, admire, respect, enjoy, love and care about one another, and we never miss an opportunity to affirm and to validate one another.

Prayer:
Father God, help those of us with wounds from the past to heal and to have the wisdom and courage to develop an interdependent relationship with our partner, children, co-workers, associates and church family.

Give us patience with them as they too heal from the wounds of their past. Then allow us to serve You together in our individual gifts and calling, according to Your will for each of our lives.

Thought for the Day:
Interdependent relationships bring harmony and enjoyment to any marriage, partnership or community.

Our Identity in Christ Alone

So many people in today’s society believe that they are not “good enough”. They believe it so strongly that to disagree with them or to correct them heaps a weight of condemnation on their shoulders, which is just too heavy for them to bear. Even when someone attempts to encourage them, they dare not believe these positive comments.

When we come to Christ, however, He heals that deep wound in our soul. He purposely chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. His servants are weak, humiliated and despised; and He uses them to confound the haughty and to prove that Christ in us is more powerful than all the human effort in the world combined (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

By God’s Spirit, we curb our penchant to sin by trusting in God and surrendering our life to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Although Satan still influences our decisions and encourages us to sin, we can renounce this inclination to allow sin to use our body and soul. Instead, we submit our self to God and His perfect will for each moment of our day and Satan has to flee (Romans 6:12-13; James 4:7).

Those who are acutely aware of their inabilities and insecurities tend to depend more on God than those who have faith in their own abilities. In reality, God searches the earth for those who are aware of their powerlessness to control life (2 Chronicles 16:9). As humble Saints, we are more open to allowing God to work in and through us. We

Prayer:
Father God, You keep us in perfect peace if we focus our mind on You throughout the day and if we trust in Your perfect will for our life (Isaiah 26:3). Your peace transcends anything we receive from the world or from our own hard work and natural capabilities. The peace, love and joy we seek are not found in our position in society, the honor of our accomplishments, the status of our reputation or our accumulation of wealth and possessions. We rest our identity only on Christ within us, and we value Your opinion of us more than that of any person alive, regardless of their position, accomplishments, reputation, financial status or possessions.

Thought for the Day:
Rather than having faith in your abilities, trust in God’s plan and purpose in your life to use You according to His capabilities.

Overcoming Sin

The more often we surrender our thoughts, choice and feelings to temptations from the flesh, the devil and the world, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. When we shut out the warning from our conscience and God’s Spirit, we arrive at the place where we can no longer hear from God at all (Hebrews 10:35-38).

Our sin separates us from Him and diminishes our resistance to sin. We lose our peace and joy. We no longer experience God’s pleasure in us. We feel the conviction of God’s Spirit and struggle with our decisions and their consequences. The Holy Spirit within us is always ready to empower us to break the cycle of sin so that we can walk in God’s righteousness (Philippians 2:13).

When we stop expecting our self to overcome sin, and focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), we have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place. Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in every authentic, Born Again Believer.

He helps us to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide us with everything we need to live a successful and fulfilled life (1 John 2:17). We no longer feel the need to protect our self, because God works miracles from the seed of every trial. We lose all desire to defend our self, because God’s opinion of us is the only one which matters. We live in freedom from sin through God’s Spirit in us.

Prayer:
Father God, give us Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that we never lose the joy of our salvation or the comfort of abiding in Your presence. May we always see sin for the degradation it brings and desire less of the comforts of the flesh and more of the ecstasy of the spirit, which comes from walking in your presence.

Thought for the Day:
May we never become so accustomed to sin that we consider it normal behavior.

Consulting the Lord

Joshua took over the leadership of Israel from Moses. He followed in Moses’ footsteps and sought God’s direction for each decision he made and every action he took. He had no confidence in his own ability and He generally relied on God’s counsel. God promised to give Joshua every part of the land where he set his feet. God also declared that no army would stand against him (Joshua 1:3,5).

Therefore, with a few successful battles to his credit, Joshua’s fame traveled throughout Canaan (Joshua 6:27). This caused his heart to swell with pride, and He got overly confident. He started believing the praise awarded to him, rather than giving credit to the Lord. The unconventional warfare God told Joshua to use at Jericho (Joshua 6:20) puffed up his confidence. Therefore, at the next battle, in the tiny town of Ai, Joshua did not bother to consult the Lord.

He relied on his own wisdom instead. He sent up an army of about three thousand men, expecting to hear of their anticipated victory. However, God taught Joshua a lesson through this and allowed the few men of Ai to defeat Joshua’s army (Joshua 7:3-4). God humbled Joshua, and he ended up embarrassed and dejected. It happened again when the Gibeonite ambassadors tricked Joshua by their deceptive words (Joshua 9:14-22).

Joshua foolishly believed he could handle these decisions without the Lord’s direction. We do this too. We forget to pray and to seek God’s counsel when salesmen pressure us, friends and family manipulate us and those in authority over us demand things from us. True success in life only comes when we seek advice from the Lord before making a decision, and follow His advice even if it is not popular or seems not to make sense. Hindsight always proves God right.

Prayer:
Father God, as Your children, we will need to make some important decisions throughout our lifetime. We have the choice of following a humanistic plan of action or of seeking Your divine direction. Remind us to trust in You with all of our heart and not to lean on our own understanding. Help us not to be wise in our own eyes, but to consult You (Proverbs 3:5-7). That way we will not be anxious about anything, but we will pray about everything and present our requests to You (Philippians 4:6). When we lack wisdom, we can ask You, because You give it generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5).

Thought for the Day:
Consult the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
– Proverbs 16:3

We Are All Winners

We Are All Winners

We are given every opportunity as we grow up from childhood to compete with others in athletics, games, grades, hobbies and even dating. We covet the first place award, and we are so disappointed when we achieve anything less. This drive to reach perfection will drive us into an early grave. It makes us think that we can control our life and the outcome of every endeavor.

We soon learn, through a series of hard knocks, that we cannot control everything. Rather than give us relief, we allow this fact to demean us in our own eyes. We see others who always win; therefore, we must be less in every way than they are. Satan makes sure that we do not recognize that there are many others who are not in first place either.

There can only be one first place winner, and everyone else is second rate at best. Therefore, rather than allowing Satan to accuse us with this fact, allow it to be a comfort, realizing that most people do not achieve first place, but we are all winners if we are IN CHRIST. This way we can rejoice with people who do win, and comfort those who do not.

We have no reason to deride our self or to feel belittled in any way, because even the winners will lose sometimes. They cannot win at everything they try. The real goal is not to win, but to do our best. If you did your best, then no one, not even your self, can expect anything more from you than your best. It is only when we do not do our best that we deserve to come in second best.

John warns us about the boastful pride of life and points out that this does not come from God, but from the philosophy of the world (1 John 2:16). Satan is the god of this world, and he thinks that he owns the kingdoms of this world. The truth is that God gave the government of the earth to mankind, and Adam relinquished his position by believing Satan’s lie.

We do this same thing every day. We believe Satan’s lies as truth and we discount the Word of God. In truth, King Jesus now has all power and authority both in heaven and on earth. He lives within us and we abide in Him as He abides in us. All the power of the Godhead dwells inside of our spirit; and we can tap into it and share it with the world around us.

Prayer:
Father God, open the eyes of our heart and let us see You. You are high and lifted up and the earth is simply Your footstool (Isaiah 66:1). Teach us that there is nothing in this world that is more valuable than our relationship with You. Remind us that as King’s kids, we are all winners because of what our brother Jesus did for us on Calvary’s cross (Matthew 4:10).

Thought for the Day:
Never think that you can handle life on your own; seek God in all of your circumstances, plans, goals and decisions. – Proverbs 3:5-6

The Value of God’s Blessings

“God bless you” is a common response to people who sneeze. The reason behind this custom is that people used to die during the bubonic plague, and continual sneezing was a symptom of this illness. Now the words are used carelessly and often shortened to “Bless you”, leaving God out of the equation all together. However, God’s blessing is very powerful and coveted by people who know its value.

Jacob knew the value of God’s blessing. In fact, he bargained with his brother Esau to give to him, the younger brother, the blessing, which rightfully belonged to the older brother. If Esau valued his blessing, he would not have traded it for a bowl of hearty soup; but the carnal Esau was famished after a day of hunting, and his stomach ruled his head. He never regretted this decision either. In fact, God knew this would happen before it ever occurred (Genesis 25:19-34).

In today’s society, we continually compromise the values, which lead to God’s blessings. Adultery in marriage, sexual indulgence with the same gender, rebellion against parents and authority, witchcraft, God-haters, rejecting God’s truth to trust in Satan’s lies, and worshipping the created rather than the Creator are just a few of our transgressions. We also teach others to do these very same things (Romans 1). We fail to acknowledge God. We are too busy futilely planning our own life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God promises blessings to His Saints, including those of peace, direction and abundance (Philippians 4:7; James 1:17; 2 Corinthians 9:8-10). We are His people, and He is our God (Ezekiel 36:28-38). As His Saints, we never worry about amassing the vanities of life, or even the essential things we need (Proverbs 30:8). God is always faithful. In our finite, human imagination we cannot even conceive of the wondrous bounty that God has planned for His people both now and in eternity (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Prayer:
Father God, the true essence of prayer is a direct line of communication with You. You are the source of all life and we truly value Your blessings in our life. The sinful lifestyle we give up in order to live in Your presence is nothing compared to the riches You have for us both now and in eternity (Acts 17:11; Romans 8:18-19). We stand firmly in the freedom of Your presence (Galatians 5:1). As we wait on You, we receive our strength for each new day (Isaiah 40:31).

Thought for the Day:
With God’s blessings in our life, we never have to give another thought to what we should eat or wear, because of what He has in store for us. – Luke 12:22-31